Friday, December 9, 2016

Five for Friday

Have you had a busy week? Hopefully, you've been able to find time to enjoy the season. Some of you are already on Christmas break! My last day with students is a half day on the 23rd. I was determined to make time this week for something I enjoy: linking up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday. 

I finished my report cards! They went home today. The beginning of December always means report card time. When I was averaging grades in the living room last weekend, my cats kindly assisted me. 

Since all the students in my class celebrate Christmas, I've decided to really Christmas it up whenever I can! We've started our multiplication unit. I have several sets of objects that students write story problems about. Click HERE to read about the items I used. 

We've started to read one of my favorite children's books: The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron. Are you familiar with her books? The characters are rich, and the stories get kids completely absorbed. 

I've decided to do a digital December Daily album this year. Each day, I scrapbook something that happened. I'm staying caught up so far!

We've been working on writing descriptions. We created these posters so students could think of ways to SHOW feelings instead of just stating them. First, though, students acted out different emotions. The other students jotted what they observed in their notebooks. It was a lot of fun.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Even Bundles Will Be On Sale!

I'm happy to announce a two-day sale at Teachers Pay Teachers on November 28th and 29th.

My entire store, including ALREADY DISCOUNTED BUNDLES, will be 20% off. Teachers Pay Teachers will give you an additional 10% off if you enter code CYBER2016 at checkout.

Do you have emergency sub plans prepped?  Cold and flu season is coming up, and this is the perfect chance to grab some easy-to-print materials. 

I have bundled sub plans for grades one, two, three, and four that are already discounted. They'll be an even better bargain during the sale. 

FYI: These are extensive bundles. They are very easy to prep, but there's a lot to print. They do work in a pinch, but these are definitely meant to be "prep-ahead-of-time" materials. 

Happy shopping! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday! My five shares aren't from just the past week. This school year has been fantastic but busier than usual. My class is bright and hardworking, and I have to move quickly to keep up with them! I usually forget to take pictures, because I'm so busy. Thank you to Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for hosting this linky every week.

Digital Papers by Carrie Stephens; Poppy by Sarah Pecorino Illustration  
Thank you to all veterans, service members, and their families. The sacrifices that you make for our country are greatly respected and deeply appreciated. 
What do you think of this amazing owl? Do you see its ginger-root feet? One of our cafeteria staff created it to display in the kitchen. We are so blessed to have such a cheerful, creative group of people serving our students every day. They love the kids, and it shows.

My class and I participated in a postcard exchange organized by Kristen at Aspire to Inspire. She worked hard to give students across the country a chance to interact. I plan to sign up every year from now on!
Our family has been going on jaunts lately. We've been trying to enjoy the very last of the fall foliage. We went to a waterfall relatively nearby. Another time we drove to Deerfield, Massachusetts to visit Yankee Candles' flagship store. 

My students have been working collaboratively to research severe weather. They'll be creating informative posters to share what they've learned.

Photos from last year:

Thanks for visiting! Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Catch More Flies With Honey

Classroom management is hard work. Most of my colleagues would say that classroom management is one of my strengths, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn.

One thing I've learned is that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That idiom probably isn't true scientifically! But in the classroom kindness, positive feedback, and appreciation go a long way.

Being positive builds bonds with students.  They want to know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. 

Here are a few ideas and resources that I've found effective. I don't use all of them every year. Keeping it simple works best for me. I just like to have a large bank of strategies and resources to pull from, so I keep collecting!

Thank You Cards
Last year I had mystery hummers. And they were humming with the intention of being disruptive. I honestly COULD NOT figure out who they were, and it drove me nuts! Despite my desire to be positive, I do think appropriate consequences can be effective. The problem is you can't use consequences when you can't identify the student who is misbehaving! I finally had an AHA moment, and decided to make thank you cards for the students who were being role models. I also made cards for other things that frustrated me. Do you have students who NEVER remember to sign up for lunch? I always do! I started giving thank you cards to the students who remembered. One of the students kept the thank you card in his pencil box all year. He sometimes would take it out and set it up on his desk so he could look at it while he worked!

Students who received the cards really appreciated them. Students who weren't doing the right thing sat up, took notice, and tried harder. (At least many of them did.)

Button Jar 
Many of you use something like this. Perhaps you've seen these variations:
-marble jar
-gold coin jar
-pom poms (sometimes called warm fuzzies)

It's so simple, but SO effective. Putting buttons in the jar and giving quick positive feedback about why you're doing it is so valuable. I find that the more I find a reason to put buttons in the jar, the more students want to earn buttons.  I do occasionally take a few buttons out for inappropriate behavior, but I try to put some in for positive behavior as soon afterward as I can. 

Shout Outs
A couple of years ago, I read a thought-provoking and very entertaining blog post by Katie from Teacher to the Core. Click here to go directly to her post.  The post described how she uses "Shout outs!" in the classroom.  

I decided to buy her product, and I'm so glad I did.  You just fill out some shout outs each day. I like to pass them out while we wait for dismissal.  The students who have earned shout outs stand.  Then, we applaud and do two or three of our favorite cheers!  There are SO many different awards in the pack.  I've copied them on colorful paper and organized them in small plastic pockets.  I have a special drawer for my shout outs so they are easy to grab.  Katie has included a recording sheet in the pack so you can keep track of the shout outs you give each day.  Click here to get the Shout Outs! in her store.

If you've found this post helpful, you might want to read these other posts:

Do missing pencils make you crazy?
Read about the system I use. Kids respond well! There's a link to a freebie, too!

Read all about my SUPER IMRPOVER wall and how it works.

Sneezing Practice
Practicing rules in a fun way...

Praise, Improvement, and a Reflection FREEBIE 

I'd love to read about your best classroom management tips in the comments. Please share!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Five for Friday on Saturday

Yesterday was Friday, and I did NOT do my Five for Friday post! I took my kids out to dinner and watched TV after they went to bed! Now that I'm well rested, I'm ready to link up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching! Happy weekend, everyone!

I've wrapped up my rounding and place value unit. One of the activities I had students do was create a number line on a sentence strip. They were given a 3-digit number and had to create a number line that would help them round the number to the nearest ten. Then, they needed to write (step by step) how they used the number line to round. They were totally engaged and excited about it. Most kids love a challenge.
In writing, we spent some time learning about compound sentences. I gave partners simple sentences that they needed to combine using a conjunction. The cool glue bottles are a freebie from Kelly Witt. You can grab them in her TPT store.


We've also started a persuasive letter. The students write from the point of view of a pumpkin. They must try to persuade someone to either PICK them or NOT pick them. To brainstorm, groups of three students worked together to list things to avoid when looking for a pumpkin and things to look for

We've started our mystery book clubs. The idea came from Amy Lemons, and I use her Mystery Mini Unit with my groups. I'm fortunate to have a skilled para in my room. Also, I teach inclusion reading so I have the special education teacher in my room too! She's a blast to teach with, and we get to do lots of differentiated small group lessons. Do you get the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues?
Cold weather=More cats on my lap!
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I like my cats. Our family now owns three! Sparrow (the tabby) has been with us since August. It took her awhile to warm up to the other cats. Herbie (gray) and Sunshine (yellow) often cuddle. The photo above with all three cats in my lap happened last week. It hasn't happened since!

As I type this, Sparrow is trying to perch in my lap without falling off. She likes attention!

On Monday, my husband and I took the kids to the apple orchard. The foliage is starting to get really nice here in Connecticut, so we drove around and enjoyed that too. At the orchard there are five different horses, and they're all curious and friendly. One of them is extremely mellow and pretty old. He just meanders among the rows of apple trees, and people stop to pet him. 

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!