Saturday, August 27, 2016

Five for Friday

Okay, so it's actually Saturday morning. I'm late! Yesterday was the last Friday of summer vacation for me. Many of you have already gone back to school, and seeing all of the fun things going on in your classrooms has really made me excited to go back too! So, thanks for that! I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday (my favorite linky).

I've been to my classroom a few times. We have NEW desks and chairs. It's been a long time since we got new furniture!

We've had a new addition to our household. Meet Sparrow! We now are a three-cat family. There's been a little bit of hissing, but the cats seem to be adjusting to each other. Perhaps soon Sparrow will join Herbie and Sunshine for one of their lounging sessions. 


We had our last beach day of the summer. Gabrielle has discovered the joy of reading on the beach! Most of the kids' time was spent in the water, though.

I finally finished a summer-long project last week! I now have three full sets of Emergency Substitute Plans for 4th Grade in my store. (They're sold in a bundle for 25% off as well.) Creating these took forever, because I wrote all of the articles and the story problems. I wanted the story problems to have some kind of theme, so I ended up doing research before I wrote them. I'm thrilled to be finished, and I'm proud of the final products. Each set has detailed lesson plans for math, spelling, writing, and reading. All related materials are included (except for dice). You can grab the plans by clicking here. I also sell sets of plans for first grade, second grade, and third grade

I created new daily schedule cards, and Gabrielle was very excited about helping me laminate them.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of my last two days of summer vacation! Next Friday, I'll actually have classroom happenings to share. 

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Classroom Progress, ONE-DAY SALE, and a GIVEAWAY

My classroom is a work in progress, and my book bins don't match. It kind of bugs me. When I browse Pinterest and visit other teachers' blogs, I drool over how gorgeous their rooms look. I love my classroom. It makes me (and my students) happy. honestly isn't as beautiful as some. Despite that, today I'm sharing some of my "room in progress" photos.

I'll also be telling you all about the ONE-DAY SALE on TPT which is TOMORROW, August 22nd and give you the chance to win a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card plus an item of your choice from my store!

First, the classroom photos:

The 3rd grade hallway bulletin board is all set! Last June, a very talented para created it for us. There are bunches of grapes for each class with all the children's names on them. She took construction paper and tissue paper and created a work of art!

I got new desks! They set up like tables, which will be nice for collaborative work. As you can see, the chairs have not yet arrived! My daughter and son have been coming to school with me. They love it, thankfully!

I'm almost finished, but not quite. My new desks need lowering, my new chairs need to make it to my room, and I have a new teacher desk and filing cabinet coming as well! It will be SO NICE not to have drawers that stick! 

I made new book bin labels, laminated them, and attached them with Velcro. The labels adhere really well, but you can easily switch them.  You'll see in the picture that the labels and the stickers on the books correspond. My book classification makes perfect sense to me, but not to all of my students! The numbers should help! (Hopefully.)

I'm joining up with the wonderful people at Teachers Pay Teachers to bring you a ONE DAY BONUS SALE! It's your chance to empty out the cart full of items you've been wanting and needing to make the beginning of the year fantastic. 

My entire store, including already discounted bundles, will be 20% off! If you use the code OneDay at checkout, TPT will give you an additional 10% off! I highly recommend the Emergency Substitute Plans!

To win a free product of your choice from my store, leave a comment telling me about your back to school experience. Are you back already? How was your first week? Are you still setting up? Have you had any oh-no-I-forgot-to-plan nightmares? On Friday, I'll choose a random "comment leaver" to win any product from my store. 

You can also win a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card! The Rafflecopter will only be open for ONE DAY! This is so the winner can use the card during the sale if they wish! ENTER NOW! 

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your back-to-school shopping!
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to School Blog Hop and GIVEAWAY


Back to school time is upon us! That's why a bevy of 50 bloggers/teacherpreneurs are sharing some of our favorite classroom management and organizational strategies. Hop along to each participating blog to read classroom-tested tips. 

And there's more: A GIVEAWAY! Enter to win one of two great prizes. We are giving away the chance to win a $50 TpT Gift Card and classroom resources from over 30 teacher authors. Here's a peek at some of the donated products. Good luck!  

My management tip? 
Just last year, I set up a SUPER IMPROVERS WALL for the first time. It's my new favorite thing! The idea came from Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids: (And the Rest of Your Class Too!) by Chris Biffle.

The idea is that there are several levels. (See the colors on the side?) Everyone starts on white and can earn stars for IMPROVING! Once a child earns ten stars, he or she moves to the next color level. Most teachers who use a Super Improvers wall have titles attached to the colors. I chose not to do that. Simpler is better for me!

IMPROVEMENT is recognized! That's the great part. With clip charts and other types of behavior management systems, sometimes the focus can shift to negativity. This system encourages everyone to improve, and everyone CAN improve.

This system levels the playing field, because everyone is expected to set goals and demonstrate growth.

Your highest achieving most well-behaved students will strive to grow. Your most behaviorally challenged students will have hope that their improvement means something and will be recognized.

When students reach a new level, I simply give them new cards and write their names in the color they reached. It's quick, easy, and extremely inexpensive!

Not one student has ever asked what he or she will "get" when a new level is reached. Just reaching a new level is it's own reward. 

One thing I didn't anticipate is how much students would cheer each other on! My students last year really encouraged one another. During the last week before summer break, two students reached bronze!
For those students, I cut a new card out of bronze-colored cardstock.  

When students reach bronze, silver, or gold they get a special card instead of an index card.

  • Index cards
  • Star stickers
  • Colorful markers that match the colors on your board
  • Cardstock in the needed colors (construction paper would work, but it fades.)  
  • Display area

That's it! Cheap. Easy. Engaging and effective! 


Visit my Whole Brain Teaching Pinterest Page

Read Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids: (And the Rest of Your Class Too!) by Chris Biffle. You'll thank me!

Click here to get FREE Back to School Math and Literacy Activities. Click here to find FREEBIES in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Don't forget to HOP over to the next blog for more Back to School classroom management and organization tips!

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Five for Friday

A dysfunctional tent. A deflated air mattress. A skunk. The beach. Rain. We went camping this week with my good friend and her two girls. And, despite my list of "things gone wrong", we had an amazing time. I'll tell you all about it as I link up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

The teeny-tiny little blue tent is my son's. Last year, I slept in that tent with my two children. We were cramped! So this year, I brought a brand new tent for my daughter and I to sleep in. My husband suggested we set it up at home as a trial run. Did we? Nope. When we got there, it seemed that the tent was put together wrong. The legs wouldn't bend the right way. Perhaps it was a manufacturing issue. It's possible there was some user error. My friend pulled out tweezers and a Swiss Army knife and managed to reassemble it so it would at least go up and stay up. She was impressive. As you can see, it still wasn't quite right!
The first night, I DID NOT sleep well. My air mattress slowly deflated during the night until I was lying on the ground. While I tossed and turned, I heard scrabbling and smelled SKUNK! I was a little nervous about that, but thankfully the skunk moved on!

I ended up going out during the day on TUESDAY to buy a cot for me and a foam pad for my daughter. I'm happy to report  that my cot was very comfortable!
On Tuesday, we also managed to fit in not one but two beach trips! It was low tide, so the water wasn't too deep. 

Reading, coloring, riding scooters, and playing board games were some of our main activities. It was nice to just have time to relax.

We went out for ice cream on our last night.  The next day (WEDNESDAY) we woke up to slight drizzle at 6:00. We leapt up and started breaking everything down as fast as we could.  Just as we finished, it started to POUR. Perfect timing! 

Last year, most of our camping trip was completely rained out. You can read about it and see pictures here.

The final day of our camping trip was also my son's 13th birthday. We celebrated with presents and cake.

Happy Friday. Thanks for stopping by!