Saturday, July 30, 2011

My To Do List (and a New School Box Winner!)

Our previous winner failed to contact us within 48 hours... So we picked a new winner!
Congrats Michelle! We love your Kinder Fun blog and hope you buy some good stuff from The School Box with your $25 gift card! (Just make sure to contact us within 48 hours... or we'll have to choose someone else.)

*  *  *  *  *

Have any of you started having back to school nightmares yet? Well, I have! The only cure I've found is to start working on my to do list and begin checking stuff off. I thought I'd share some of things I still need to do before school starts to help any of you who are new to teaching or who need help ideas/inspiration of new things to do in your classrooms.

1. Revamp our 5th grade disclosure document. 
Thing about our homework policies, late work policies, etc. I have 2 new {awesome!} teachers on my team this year, so we'll need to see how we can incorporate new ideas.

2. Finish my reading calendars.
This project is taking forever because each little number in the corner is its own text box. So, for each month I have to drag the little numbers around. Is there an easier way to do this?

3. Make my new 'welcome to 5th grade' decor outside my classroom.
 Because my new theme is cupcakes (see my class blog here) I want to write in big letters, "5th Grade is Really Sweet" and have cute scrapbook-y type cupcakes with each students' name on it. 

4. Revamp my classroom jobs board. 
Come up with a cute rotation system and decide if I want to change or add any new jobs.

5. Make my "Fast Finishers" books. 
I like to have a book filled with educational and fun activities for students to do when they finish an assignment early. Of course students can always silent read or work on writing as a fast finisher, but I also like to include some cursive practice pages, times tables, crossword puzzles, math riddles, etc for my students to work on if they choose.

6. Start my plan book. 
Get my first few weeks of school figured out. Decide which type of get to know you games we will play, get my math all mapped out, etc. I try to mix things up a little each year, I'm constantly on the lookout for new and fun ideas.

7. Decide which type of gift I want to put out on my students' desks for Back to School Night/Open House. 
I'm thinking either a '5th grade survival kit' or I might order some designer cupcakes from a local bakery with a cute welcome topper. They are a little pricy though... so we'll see about that.

8. Decide how I want to do spelling this year.
It seems each year I change the way I do spelling. It's because I've never been completely happy with it. Is it better to give more spelling homework each week so students come prepared for their test on Friday? Or should there be less homework so they focus on reading and math homework instead? Which program should I use? (I've used Literacy Place, Words Their Way, and Rigby... I've never been completely happy with any of them.) How do I adequately challenge each student? Some students are on a first or second grade reading/spelling level... some are on a seventh or eighth grade level. How in the world can I properly do leveled spelling/individual spelling lists? 

9. Organize my desks and put name tags on. 
(They are all still stacked on the counters from getting my carpet cleaned this summer.) I always use clear contact paper to adhere the name tags to their desks. 
 I usually order this one from Carson-Dellosa.

I'm sure I have a thousand other little things to do, but I think I covered most of the big projects that have been on my mind.

Please share of the things on your to do list. I'd love to see if I'm forgetting anything important. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sight Word Ideas

Since our state is going to the Common Core State Standards {Reading and Language Arts only this year},   I thought I'd read up!  As my team and I were going through the standards we noticed that our 1st graders need to not only be able to recognize the sight words but spell/write them correctly too!  BAM! That's when it hit me! I had seen an AMAZING post by Growing Kinders about a sight word password. PLEASE go to her blog and check it out...she's one of my favorites!!!  I remade the poster to match my classroom {it's my OCD}.



Here's the breakdown. Post a laminated "Today's Password" poster outside of your classroom.  Each day, with a wet erase marker, write a different password on the poster and as your kiddos enter the room, they need to whisper it to you!  Well since they have to be able to write it also, I made a "Password of the Day Book".  After they whisper it to me, they need to go write that word in their book!  


Clipart from DJ Inkers and used with permission from djinkers.com


In our 1st grade we have 5 sight words a week that go home with them to practice as homework. At the beginning of the week, I introduce the words and tape them to the board {I don't put them on my word wall yet} We also practice them everyday in class. I LOVE another one of Growing Kinders' ideas to practice sight words {HERE} Also, for more word wall/sight word activities go {HERE}! At the end of the week I {with the help of my firsties} post them on our word wall that looks like this:
{source} I love this word wall because it's mobile. I rotate classrooms every 9 weeks!


The borders are from this cute new website I found called Print Candee   
Many of their products can be used without a commercial license, 
but make sure you read their terms of use.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's the bee-havior buzzzz???

I'm back with Management Monday!

I think classroom management {especially behavior management} is MUCHO important. If you can't manage a class, you can't provide your students with the best learning environment. I just wanted to share a few tips I use for managing behavior in my classroom {I've accumulated these ideas from my student teaching-Mrs. K, my mentor teachers, and my teaching experiences}.  Hopefully ya'll have seen my positive reinforcement ideas {here}.  <--- Postitive Reinforcement ideas are by F--A--R the best way to manage a classroom!  But, when you need a little extra for some of those stinkers, here is what I do.

I use this little old tool from Lakeshore Learning:

When a student is on a green card they have done a great job that day and will get a hole punch in their behavior punch card {see below}.
When a student is on a yellow card, they needed reminding that day of the appropriate behavior and must miss out on 2 minutes of recess and no punch in their behavior punch card {see below}.
When a student is on a red card, the student did not follow the rules and expectations and must miss all of recess and will have a note sent home {red card report}. I also keep record of students that get red cards and if the note was brought back to school signed.

Click the picture to download



At the end of each day I used to give each student a sticker on a behavior sticker chart...well...stickers became scarce!  I saw {this} great idea on Eighteen25 and decided I could adapt it for my classroom to save time and money on stickers. If they are on a green card at the end of the day, they get a hole punched in their Behavior Punch Card. After they get 20 hole punches they get to pick out of the prize box! I copy the punch card on colored cardstock {because not only is it functional, it's caauuuttee}. :)  I have my kiddos store theirs in their pencil boxes, but you could add a magnet to the bottom and have them stick them under their desks.



Click the picture to download {both girl and boy are included in 1 download}

GIRL punch card

BOY punch card


I send home this behavior contract {my class theme was "bugs" last year so I called it a bee-havior contract}.  I like the contract because it allows for the parents to hold accountability too because they know what is expected. You will obviously have different expectations and what not, but you could copy some of the wording for your own contract :

Click the picture to download



What behavior management tool works best for you?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The School Box - Giveaway!

It is time for us to announce a fun giveaway! The School Box, a teacher supply store, has offered to give one of our special readers a $25 gift card!


The School Box is a family owned business that is committed to provide A+ service and products that teach, challenge & inspire! Our lucky winner will be mailed a $25 gift card and catalog!

How can you win $25 to spend at www.schoolbox.com?


There are 3 chances to win 
{enter a separate comment for each}:


1.  Be a follower of our blog and make a comment below telling us!
2.  Be a {Facebook} follower of {The School Box}.  Make sure you leave them a comment 
telling them that we sent you! Then come
back here and leave a comment.
3. Blog about this giveaway or post it on    
your Facebook page! Then come back here
  and leave a comment.            


This giveaway will end  Tuesday, July 26th at midnight {MST}.

I visited their website {here} and I've got my eye on a couple of things:

These punch-out letters are adorable!

This is a storage chart for borders!!!!!!

This hangs on your white board










Friday, July 22, 2011

A sneak peek. . .

Here's a sneak peek of my classroom {more to come in August when I'm back to school}. . .
This is part of my reading corner. Apparently the accent on the E is in the wrong place. I'll have to fix that!
The theme in my classroom is "What's cookin' in 1st grade?".  I first saw this idea {here} and I got the little chef from DJ Inkers {it's a bulletin board set}. I made the canopy out of red and white poster board and it's 3D.  I just used 2 white poster boards and I cut strips of red poster board and glued them on. Then, I used a bowl to trace and cut out the bottom.  I then laminated it. To make it look 3D, I just folded cardstock paper and stapled it to the wall {in a triangular shape} and hung my poster board with tacks over the cardstock.  Ta-da! :)

What do you think?  
Maybe even use is for the Sisters' Cafe?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Science fair, journals, and experiments. Oh my!

I l.o.v.e to teach science! I hate the mess I sometimes make with my experiments, but it's well worth it in the end. We've posted a couple science experiments {here}.  I wanted to share with you my science journal that we use to write our hypothesis and conclusion.  I copy the front cover in a fun color and use a blank page of that same color for the back.  Then, copy the journal page about 25 times, put the front/back covers on, and staple it on the side 2 times!






We also participate in a science fair. Our grade level {1st grade} does our own "science fair" and the kiddos LOVE it! I send home the project with a note and the students fill out the journal and complete an experiment with the help of their parents. Here is the science fair journal booklet and the note to send home to parents {click *here* for the parent note}.  When you download this, you'll have to know the order because this is a folded and stapled in half book.  The order is {Cover,  topic, purpose, hypothesis, list of materials, procedure, research, journal pages, graph paper and conclusion}.  The pages are somewhat interchangeable so hopefully you can make it work:









What works for you when teaching science?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back to School Shopping

I was so excited yesterday when I got the school credit card!! I ran right to Walmart to pick up the first of my purchases for back to school. 

I got more crates! I paid $5 for these babies last year and they usually sell for $8. Right now they are only $3.48... YAY!!  (I am going to make more of these with them.) 

 I bought all the supplies to make my own Lollipop Tree!
I think this will look cute on my desk and be a fun treat to give to students as little rewards.

The 2 black canisters are for my sharp and dull pencils. I'm excited to put some cute labels on them.
The greenish canister is for my desk to help organize all my writing utensils.

I got some new calendars. The big one is for my wall and the little one is for my planning binder. It's already 3 whole punched so it should work great. 
This is what my old calendar looked like.... and this one is the NEW one!
I love it already!

Nice new, colorful markers!! Yay!!  

 And... what every teacher needs to start off a new school year... beautiful, new composition notebooks! These babies are for my math journals. I got these for 40 cents each. Have you seen them anywhere for a better price?

I just have to put a label on them and my math journals will be good to go! And I know how our readers like their freebies - here's a copy of my labels for you:

 Click HERE  for the download.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Classroom Supplies

I've decided to re-post a couple of things that I think you might like! :) It's Throwback Monday today!  I of course included a new download!



As tough as the economy is right now, it's difficult to find money to buy everything you need/want for your classroom and for your students {in my district, we're not allowed to send home a supply list and the beginning of the year}.
This idea is for a "Donation Door"! Thank you to Lisa {a kinder teacher at our school} for the idea! Your door can be geared toward a theme...My classroom theme was bugs and so my door matched my classroom.  This door is great for the first day of school  and also for Back to School Night Ideas for donation items:
*Baby wipes
*Ziplocks
*Clorox Wipes
*Address labels
*Pencils
*Erasers
*Germ-X
*Markers
*Glue Sticks
*Colored Pencils
*Batteries
*Play-doh
*Prizes
*Picture/chapter books
*Puzzles

Donation Door


Parents will take off the item that is attached with velcro to the bug. 
(This ensures you don't get doubles of anything you don't need)



{This is the explanation sign that goes on the door}




Click
{here}
 for the posters, clipart, and explanation for the Donation Door
                                            Click {here}
for the Donation Door labels



Could you use this in your classroom?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ummm... hi!

Hello Bloggy World... Sorry that I have been so MIA. I went on my fabulous history trip, then spent the next week or so recovering from my history trip. I have lots I want to blog about eventually, but for now I have a quick FREE download!

I jointed Pinterest yesterday after I saw Rachelle's awesome chairs and I quickly became addicted. Wow! I am so in love with everything and everyone!

Well... I came a cross an adorable ABC chart and knew I wanted to make my own. So I did! I actually made it for my little guy's bedroom, but thought it would look cute in a classroom as well.


Click here for the FREE download!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer break. I know my summer has been fabulous so far!!  I actually went to Walmart today and saw all the school supplies out, and it depressed me a little {okay, it depressed me a lot!}. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching... but, there's just something wonderful about playing in the sun, swimming whenever you want, taking naps if you feel like it, staying up late because you don't have to be at school at 7:30am...

:)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I gave in.

Ok, I gave in and actually did a DIY project and I really committed to it. Kind of.  What did I get myself into?

Everyone has been pinning on Pinterest {I first saw it *here*} like CRAZY this wonderful storage seating idea with crates.  Well...I jumped into it and thought I'd do it! P.S. They are pretty low to the ground {for 1st graders} when you put them at your guided reading table. I just lowered my table a little bit and I think it'll work just fine!

The finished product!

Before you freak out when you see how much I spent, please be aware that I wanted to just get this project finished. I didn't take my time to price it out or seek donations.  I'm pretty sure Wal-Mart  and Home Depot would have donated most of the items used {if I would have been patient in getting those items}.


Remember I made 6 crate seats! You can start small!
Supplies and expected costs for 6 crates:
  • Staple Gun {16.43- Home Depot}
  • Staples 8mm {2.67- Home Depot}
  • (2) 1/2 inch thick plywood about 2'X4' {22.52 for 2 - Home Depot} 
  • Cutting the wood to fit in the crate {Free- Home Depot} 
  • (6) Crates {20.82 for 6- Wal-Mart}
  • Spray Glue {5.97- Wal-Mart}
  • (2) Foam Roll 1 inch thick {32.00- Wal-Mart...*ouch*, instead of buying this foam I bought, just buy the egg shell foam mats!}
  • Ribbon {1.97- Wal-mart} 
  • Fabric {3.5 yards at $15.94-Wal-Mart} 
  • A husband willing to help you out {PRICELESS!} 


Here is my tutorial!

After having the Home Depot worker cut my pieces my hubby had to take them home and sand the corners down to round them out.

Cut the foam to fit on the wood.

Use spray adhesive on the wood focusing on the edges.  Pat down the fabric to ensure it sticks all around. Let dry for 2 hours.

Cut the fabric


It's best to have someone help you staple. I pulled the fabric tight and my husband used his muscles to staple.

The corners look much like a present being wrapped.


Fit your ribbon {for the handle} and place in the middle.

Pull the ribbon tight (but not too tight) and start stapling!


You can use the ribbon as a handle to pull the seat out so you can store items in your crate.

The finished product!


My kiddos LOVE the crate seats during guided reading!



OK LISTEN UP!  I did not expect it to be this much of a project. I was thisclose to quitting because I get frustrated with DIY projects way too soon. I think if Home Depot could have cut off the corners for us, we wouldn't have spend 1+ hours sanding them down.  Make sure you take your crate in when you get the wood cut.  Don't just measure!

As you can see we've only finished one. I felt so accomplished that I posted this before all of them were finished. :)  Maybe I'll update this post with all of them together {I bought a different piece of fabric for all of them!}.


If you'd like a printable version of the tutorial click *HERE*.


Great tips from our readers:
*Instead of buying the foam from the craft department, but the egg shell foam pads in the bed/bath department- It will be much cheaper!
*Try your local grocery store to get donated crates {eggs/milk are delivered in them!}


I linked up:



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