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Friday, June 29, 2012

Inspiration for Fun!

Here are some other ideas I found that are inspiring- and fun!

This is a cute idea from Clutter-Free Classroom- rewriting "Diary of a" to go with a themed unit. She used Charlotte's Web and had her class write "Diary of a Pig." Last year, I had my students write "Diary of a Mealworm" for our life cycle unit- they were fantastic!

Really Good Stuff has really good stuff...and I'm thinking that I can modify this Little Pocket Sorts for some centers that I have.

This idea is from Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants. When I saw this, I took an old manila folder and got out my label stickers. I have A-Z and then just laminated it. I use a Vis-a-Vis marker instead of the velcro- works like a charm! I just wipe the name off with a damp cloth when the student changes levels.

Dawn Gray created this freebie on her TPT site- love the bookmarks for Read to Someone during Daily 5. It provides conversation starters for the kiddos when they are done reading.

And from the "Why Didn't I Think of That?!" file:

Hot glue a pom pom to the end of a dry erase marker- instant eraser! Genius!

Love this Election unit from Cara Carroll! It's chock full of ideas for November.

I thought this idea from Flickr was cute- they drew owls on pages torn out of an old book. I could think of a few different ideas for this project.

Sorry this is sideways- but it's handy! I am thinking about printing this freebie from Teacher's File Cabinet on TPT and putting it in my students' dictionaries.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inspiration for Classroom Management

Since I'm a looping teacher, the first year a loop is critical for classroom management. It's nice that we are able to take the time in the first few weeks/months of school to learn behaviors and routines because we will have essentially the same students for two years.

At the end of last year I had a chart like many:
It was quite motivational! I actually had my colors flipped from the picture above- you wanted to get to purple and stay away from red. Most kids stayed on green ("Ready to Learn") and would move up to blue if they were caught going above and beyond the call of duty. Purple was reserved for those who were stellar- great listening, no reminders, helpful, etc. If you got to purple, you got a special note home. The kids had keychains (just those little silver ball keychains) that they tried to earn beads for and if you were on green or blue at the end of the day, you got to choose a bead. Purple kids were able to choose from special animal beads. If you needed reminders, you would go down to yellow, orange, and red. Red meant that  you got a call home. At any point in the day kids could move up or down. I constantly reiterated that if you were on yellow, you could get back to green just by being ready to learn. 

This year I might try this again, depending on what my team decides. I wouldn't use the beads and keychains again, though- it was a lot to remember at the end of the day. I like Wild About First Grade's idea of the gems on the clips- that was cute. 

As far as rules go, our school has four that encompass most of what we'd like the kids to do. Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Prepared. We usually spend a day on each rule- we read a story, talk about examples of that behavior, write down what it would look like, sound like, etc. At the end of the week, I make large posters of each rule and the kids walk around in groups and write reminders and notes of each rule. 

I love focusing on the positives in the rules- saying "I will remember to walk quietly in the halls" instead of "Don't talk in the hallway." Here are some other fantastic ideas from Pinterest, just click on the image for the website: 

From Farley's Scribd

I also love these ideas for discussing active listening (click on the image for lesson ideas, too!):


And I will continue to do Bucket Fillers- there are so many ideas out there for this! We have been doing this for a few years and I'm glad to see there are many more resources now than when we first started! Click the image to see how Clutter-Free Classroom uses this book.

Curing the blurts from Scholastic:

And I usually re-read these two amazing books to remind myself how to start the year:

And I'll also include this article from Scholastic in case I forget anything!

Classroom Expectations List
One quick question, does anyone do Envoy by Michael Grinder? There was a discussion about it at my school last year and I'm curious about the pros and cons. Thanks!

Tomorrow's inspiration is just for fun- things I have found that I'd like to try.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Inspiration for Notebooks and Journals

In the morning I usually have something for the kids to do. In the past, we've had "morning journals" where the kids write in the answer(s) to the question(s) I had on the board. Sometimes it is math related, other times it is a journal entry. This year I want to be more focused with my "morning journal" and make it more writing prompts and I will include the math things later.

The first day of school we cover our notebooks. Here is a cute tutorial that I created on an old scrapbooking blog of mine. I don't make my school ones nearly as fancy!
I basically just have the kids make them with construction paper and they do the tracing. Glue stick works perfectly fine, but I do have a tape runner on hand in my room at all times. It just makes things go quicker, ya know? The students just decorate with scraps and markers- we don't add a handle or fancy stickers but you definitely could!

I did like Jaime's idea of adding a ribbon bookmark. My kids have trouble going to the next page in their notebooks- they usually skip about 5 pages and then write their next entry.

Our basal series comes with daily questions but I think they can be pretty dry. I usually use them in conjunction with thematic or curricular topics. I also found these journal prompts from TeachMama that I might modify for ideas.

Did you hear that? It was my copy budget for the year shattering. But seriously...I could pick and choose pages, right?? LOVE this.

I would also like to make more time for journaling during my math block or use the topics with my homeroom at a different time of day. I really like these journals from Really Good Stuff:

I might try to figure out my own way to make something like this that the kids could glue into their notebook when they needed to. 

I purchased Ashley Reed's Math and Language Morning Journal Labels and they were fantastic in a pinch! Especially for substitutes.

I would really love to try foldables this year, too! This photo is from the Foldables Wiki but I have lots of foldables pins on Pinterest.

Tomorrow will be a post for classroom management! Exciting!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Inspiration for Displays and Bulletin Boards

Here is my collection of ideas for displays and bulletin boards. I will have a long magnetic whiteboard and a shorter magnetic whiteboard in my room. Each is flanked by two square bulletin boards. 

We are starting to display our Learning Targets each day. Last year I just created a section next to our class schedule with two border strips running down the side and blue painter's tape sectioning off each subject area. This year, I'd like to make it a little nicer.

I found this idea on Pinterest but would definitely revamp it a little. When I went to click on the link, it said that it might go to spam so Pinterest is blocking the website. 

These are dollar store frames with scrapbook paper behind them. You can write on them with a whiteboard marker and erase. I liked the idea of being able to customize them to fit my decor.

I also like the idea of "I Can" statements like these from F is for First Grade:

Then I saw this magnet set from Really Good Stuff and had an idea.
I usually write up the supplies that kids need to take out on the board when I give directions. This makes it much easier for me since I won't get asked 100 times what else needs to get taken out- I just get asked maybe 5 times instead. So my idea is to separate these magnets- use the supplies for showing the kids what they need and use the subject magnets for the Learning Targets. I think I like this idea...the magnet set is only $12.99. I could store them in one of these magnetic whiteboard pockets:

Since I'll have more bulletin board space, I would like to fancy up my calendar area. I found this on a blog and loved it!

Now Mama Jenn (the creator of this amazingness) is a homeschooler, so I think I will nix the prayer and put my helpers there. But I love the different things she has included. Our math series has a few other pieces that they would like us to use so I will also supplement those. You might be wondering if she has made your life easier by putting all of these things on her blog for free to print. Why, yes! Click on the picture for the link.

I'm also debating about using my smaller whiteboard for a reference wall like this one at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits:
She has freebies, too! Just click the photo.

On tap for tomorrow: Inspiration for Notebooks and Journals!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Inspiration for the Room

I've been thinking about how to set up my new room and have gotten some wonderful ideas from Pinterest and bloggers that I follow. I've also been scouring those Really Good Stuff catalogs to see what I might need or what I might make myself. This will be my third year teaching 2nd grade in a row- I used to loop first to second (I did that for six years) and then I volunteered to take over a class for another teacher who was transitioning out of the classroom and into a specialist position. This year, our principal decided that we would begin looping second to third grade so I will start a new loop with second grade this year. I'm excited because I know the curriculum in my sleep and I have a lot of siblings of kiddos I used to have in this group.

I am so lucky to be in a school that is fairly new. We opened in 2005 and the rooms in our building are beautiful and there are very few that don't have windows. We all take our turns in those rooms. :) This year I have a room style I've never been in before. It has extra cabinets! Well, just two extra but you know how nice those can be!

Here are some of my ideas for my room so far. I'm not sure if I'll have desks or tables (since we loop, we usually have desks one year and then tables but we'll have to see how my group of teachers divides them up).

This idea is from She used inexpensive crates and zip-tied them together. I think I might have to do this to house some of my math whiteboards, games, and flashcards. Last year I bought a shoe rack organizer from Target that was somehow used as a step stool and was broken. Such a bummer. I'm toying with the idea of using crates like this or waiting until those shoe racks go on sale again. The good news is that if I do buy the crates and the shoe rack, I could always make these instead:

Another option for seating/storage is this lovely:
Isn't she gorgeous? It's actually an Ikea Expedit bookshelf laid on it's side and covered with foam and fabric. LOVE THIS! I have a bench that has seen better days and would love to replace it with one set of these. 

I also have a shelving unit like the one below sitting in my garage.

I found this photo on Really Good Stuff- and the drawers are almost $100! Yikes! I waited until the Recollections brand one was on sale at Michaels and used my 15% teacher discount. I don't even think it was full price at Michaels for $100. I've seen ones that have the ten drawers in two columns which I do like better but this will work fine for me. I am going to use it for my centers- not sure if it will be word work or math yet.

Tomorrow I will share with you some display and bulletin board ideas!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer can finally begin! Right?

Our last day of school was June 7. Most of that day was autographs for the kiddos' yearbooks, playing outside with our grade level, having our pizza party with the entire 2nd grade, and watching "A Bug's Life" since we had just finished our unit on mealworms. I started not feeling to great but I chalked it up to the stress of the end of the year, moving classrooms, meetings, etc.

The next day I spent moving my junk out of my classroom and into a storage room so I wouldn't make the other teacher (who is on maternity leave) feel like she was being kicked out. Her sub did a great job of moving her stuff to another closet closer to that new room. Still didn't feel great, though- and knew I'd be back the following week for a book study meeting so I figured I'd get more done then.

My husband was out of town beginning that Friday and for the entire week so that meant me and the boys (ages 5 and 6 mos.) solo 24/7. We went into school on Tuesday and my room was already cleared out to be cleaned! The custodians were fast!! I felt bad that my stuff was all out and not put away but it will be so nice to have my room cleaned and ready for next time I'm in.

All week I just wasn't hungry and not feeling well.

My husband got home the day before Father's Day and I was about ready to drive myself to urgent care- my stomach felt awful. We waited until Sunday (Father's Day) and dropped the kids off with the grandmas and went in. I was immediately sent to the emergency room at our local hospital (which is where I had my baby a few months ago- that hospital is amazing!) and hours later I went in for surgery to remove my gallbladder.

What a way to start my summer!

I'm feeling a lot better now but still sore. The worst part is that I'm not supposed to lift anything over 15 pounds- which is just shy of my 17 pound baby! Poor guy! He sits on my lap but I really can't take care of him like I should. Luckily for me my mom had this week off (total coincidence) so she took good care of me and the boys.

I've been on Pinterest a lot lately since I haven't really been able to do much else so I have a LOT of classroom projects and ideas stirring in my brain. I'm planning a few posts next week to share.

Meanwhile, check out Clutter-Free Classroom's "mini-series" called "Inspired" where she lists some of the ideas she used for her classroom. Her reveal is on June 27 and I'm so excited to see how she used all of the things she's shared!