Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back from vaca.. Giveaway winner!

Yay! Jennifer Nicholson Agolino, you win! I am e-mailing your TpT gift certificate and your items. Thanks for entering, everyone! :)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back to School "Must-Do's" and last day for the $25 TpT Giveaway!

Today is the last day to enter for a $25 TpT gift certificate plus my new chalkboard decor. I'm so close to another milestone on TpT that I may need to have another giveaway celebration very soon! :)




a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've been using my Pinterest to organize my classroom ideas this summer. Because I'm only getting 15 students next year (as opposed to the 24 I had last year), I'm ready to do some rearranging. I also had students use their personal supplies last year and they kept them in their black holes desks, but this year, I ordered materials for community supplies. How many of you prefer community supplies vs. personal supplies, and vice versa?

I have caddies like this, but I am loving these table signs for the fronts!

Now that I have all sorts of space up front, I really want to create a crate seat bench to coordinate with my other crate seats that sit at my guided reading table:
I covered my crate seats in vinyl instead of fabric to keep them cleaner, and it really has kept my crate seats in great condition for almost 3 years now! My seats are below:

I'm also loving the brightly colored bins for paper organization. My papers for Writer's Workshop are a hot mess on my supply shelf! 
Love the bright library bins, too! 

I DESPERATELY need to give my insanely old filing cabinet a makeover. I love the contact paper and washi-tape idea here!
Mine is rusty and ugly!

I have lots and lots of Sterilite drawers in my classroom that are in need of a makeover! I also wanted to have drawers like this (only smaller) between table groups for community supplies!

What's on your Must-Do list for BTS?













Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday! ($25 TpT Giveaway!)



1. Hubs came back from his business trip. Here are 2 of his greeters :o)


2. We spent last week at my in-laws on a lake. Here's Lola the boat dog!


3. I'm starting to think about back to school! I am working hard on a new morning work packet - I just don't have time in the morning for my kids to do an actual worksheet, and I hate the disorganization I had this year (read: chaos) by kids just coming in and grabbing books for the first 10 minutes of the day. I'm working on creating my own dry erase style reusable morning work activities! This is easy, simple, reusable morning work that will free up your photo copier and (hopefully) make your mornings (and mine) less chaotic! I'm hoping to have some ink in my printer to print it and get it organized to blog about next week :)

4. I've also spent lots of time this week working on my new teacher planner for next year! A Teeny Tiny Teacher has the BEST template - and it's free on her blog! I downloaded it and played with some colors and started entering my schedule into it. Love! Last year I bought an Erin Condren but really only used the lesson plan portion, so I couldn't see spending a lot on another planner this year. I am so excited to use this template! Click the picture from A Teeny Tiny Teacher's blog to go over to her page and find the template for yourself - love it! 

Here's mine with some "stuff" filled in and some colors that I played with:




5. I am running a fun little giveaway! I created some new chalkboard decor (see below- click the pictures to go to my TpT to see them with some more thumbnails!), so I would love to give all three away PLUS a $25 TpT gift certificate for you to buy some more back to school goodies (not that I'm thinking about that yet... ughhh). Enter below and share away! :)






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday (and my giveaway!)

Before I launch into my Throwback post about math talk and math journals, just a reminder that I'm running a small little giveaway with two great prizes! My 3 new decor items and a $25 gift certificate to get some additional back to school goodies on TpT! :)





I spent most of my morning on Pinterest getting some pins organized and planning for the next school year and I've been thinking a lot about math journals. I (heart) math journals! I use my prompts daily with my math groups during my math daily 5. This year, I stuck with the daily 5 format for my math workshop year long, and one station was the "Writing About Math" station, in which my firsties used their math journals to answer journal prompts. Last year, I wrote a little blog post about math journals and math talk, and it's been repinned lots of times on Pinterest, so I'm using that as my "Throwback Thursday" post today! Also, I created a fun little freebie for math talk to glue into the inside cover of their math journals (I use a spiral bound notebook). I plan to print this at a slightly smaller scale so it glues in and fits nicely. It's below if you want to snag it for your own students! :)
Math Talk Menu


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013

I Heart Math Journals! (a quick little giveaway)

I have seen the light. I never did math journals before when I taught K or 2. This is a recent adventure for me, and I am SO happy I started them! I just got through 18/19 of my parent conferences, so excuse the quick post.

I am writing about math journals for 2 reasons: first, because I just had conferences and I was able to use my math journals to show student work, growth, and areas for improvement. We do math journals at least twice a week for morning work, and it is always a choice at the math daily 5. Journal prompts range from story problems to missing part problems, how many of each? problems to true/false problems. My kiddos have gotten so good at showing what they know! The thing I love the MOST is the sharing aspect of journals- everyday, my kids share what they wrote and how they solved it. I have my kiddos in pairs, we created a poster on math talk, and we are on a roll!

The second reason I'm writing is to show my April/May journal prompts that I just posted to TpT, and I would love to give 2 copies away tonight! The first two comments get these prompts free! :)

If you want to check them out on TpT, click the pic!






Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wish List Wednesday & $25 TpT Giveaway Time! :)


I decided to look through my products on TpT to figure out my most wish listed items. It looks like my OWL Binder Pack is it! It will be on sale for the next 3 days for 20% off. It's the perfect way to organize your students with their own take-home binders! I've used them for two years now in lieu of take home folders. They work great! I love that my students can store their reading logs, reading strategy sheets, homework folders, word rings, specialist schedules and other items in an organized way that keeps these items safe year long! :) Parents love them too! Grab it now for the new school year!



I would love to give one away also! Comment below and I will choose a winner within the next two days :o) Include your e-mail so I can send it to you! 

Also, I just spent some much needed time and energy into some new chalkboard themed decor items. I am obsessed with the chalkboard theme! My classroom is all chalkboard decor, and I decided to create some money posters, new alphabet posters, and some adorable new subway art-style classroom rules posters that I can't wait to print and frame! I'd love to give away all three of these items, so I'm having a little give-away. I've been a serious slacker, so I am also including a $25 TpT gift certificate so that you can grab some back to school essentials from your favorite sellers! All you have to do is be a follower of my blog, TpT store, and/or Facebook, and that's it! Blogging and or pinning is just an added bonus :) To peek at the products, click the pictures below- I linked them all from my TpT. They're also on sale through the weekend! :)





Enter here! :)


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Currently... (my sad attempt at getting back into blogging?)

I decided to link up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for July's currently in a sad, sad attempt at getting back into the swing of blogging. My previous posts detail some of my very stressful, difficult school year, but with the summer off, I have plenty of time for blogging again! So, here we go!


Listening: Kathie Lee and Hoda. Don't judge me!
Loving: That I took the summer off! This is my first summer not teaching summer school and I am loving life.
Thinking: That I need to start blogging again - seriously - my last post is from April. Thankfully, I have lots of time for catching up over the summer! 
Wanting: To go to the beach! It's a hot, humid, sunny day and I would rather be there :)
Needing: To pack for the weekend! We will be heading to New Hampshire for the 4th!
4th Plans: My birthday is on the 4th of July :)


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Persistence!

This year, I have a group of little friends who can sometimes give up a little too easily. And maybe some friends who want to do the minimum required. And some others who give up after one try. And maybe some more who only try one way at problem solving before quitting. Do you??!

I have my classroom rules about kindness and respect, but I have never had a list of rules about effort and persistence before! I went to visit Teachers College in March and had a workshop with Kristi Mraz (co-author of Smarter Charts), and it was all about teaching persistence and grit in early childhood classrooms. It was the best workshop I visited that day, by far! I came back with so much to share with my kids.

Kristi recommended teaching the character traits persistence, optimism, resilience, and flexibility through children's books. I also think effort and stamina are important, so I include those as well. For example, in the book "Worm Builds", a super easy reader for a K or 1st grade student, worm shows so much persistence! His tower gets knocked down again and again, and worm builds! This simple text has such a powerful message. "The Carrot Seed" teaches persistence, optimism, and effort, all in one book! "Dex: Heart of a Hero" teaches about stamina, resilience and persistence! The Pete the Cat series is all about optimism. Fabulous for teaching that character trait!




I decided to teach each trait exclusively, and with each trait, I introduced a superhero themed poster for our classroom. I call these our "brain superpowers"! To grab yours, click below.

 Clip Art and Fonts are from Ashley Hughes, Krista Wallden, and Kimberly Geswein Fonts.


I also do a lot of work to make sure we don't forget about our brain superpowers. Currently, when students are demonstrating one of the six brain superpowers, we make a big deal out of it. I have two owl themed chair covers (coveted in our classroom!), and a student demonstrating the brain superpower gets to have the special chair for the day. Kristi Mraz made crowns for her students that read the name of the powers (maybe something to try for next year!) I'm currently in the process of creating little certificates for each brain superpower (sort of like A Cupcake for the Teacher's cute clip chart certificates!). I can't wait to use these! I'm thinking of so many other ways to integrate our brain superpowers :)

Next year, I plan to introduce these during the first week of school, and I will also talk about it in detail with parents at curriculum night. This year, it was introduced much later, and it's working so well, I am excited to continue it next year! I've definitely noticed my students trying to put forth more effort and persistent, and I love that they are using words like this (great for vocabulary!) in first grade.