Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vistaprint... It begins!

I was just thinking about doing a linky party about this when I saw that Spolight on Kindergarten is currently hosting a Vistaprint linky party! Head over and sign up for the fun!

I've done really well staying away from Vistaprint this summer... but that is officially over. I've made two orders in the past two days! But, with this coupon which gives a ton of free items AND free 7-day shipping when you spend $30.00, how can I NOT order stuff?! I know the coupon says it is expired but... shhhhh!... it isn't!

So, I wanted to share what I've ordered for next year. Can I add a "so far" in there?

Sticky notes for denoting "tricky words"

A cute thank you card!

A stamp for making writing grading easy!

Another cute "thank you"

Just a fun teacher notepad

Car magnet

A sticky note pad for questioning

One of my favorite quotes on a pen!

Yard sign to hang above my "soon-to-be" partner reading table!

Mouse pad

Sticky note pad for kids to write their names on and hang on the "lunch bunch" poster

Predictions sticky note pad

Stickers... too cute!

Banner to hang up when the leaves start rolling in for the exchange we're in!

One of my goals this year is to be more vigilant in making sure library books are returned in a timely manner... hopefully this sticky note pad will help!

Another "just plain cute" notepad for meeeee!

Poster for "Lunch Bunch"

Car magnet to hang near clip chart

Super cute new clip chart "happy note" for my kiddos! The color side is the front and the black and white is the back.

Connections sticky notes

Two different bookmarks- both on business cards

So cute! I plan to put these on students' homework sheets on the day their book orders arrive! :)

A banner to hang up and then put a sticky note with students' names when they reach levels in my 100 Club!

These are the check out cards for my class library- on the large postcards... then I cut them in half to get double the cards!

So, there they are... the first two VP orders of the summer! Can't wait to get my stuff!

A tasty linky party!

This is what I do...

I send home a snack calendar at the end of each month for the next month. Each student brings snack for the class about every four weeks. On days where a student forgets or a family is unable, I request extra snacks throughout the year and keep them in my closet... I also save "left overs" from snacks and sometimes we just eat them too.

Below you can view my snack calendar for February 2010.

I do have a page on my website where you can view the letter I send home at the beginning of the year to explain the snack calendar to my school families.

While my students eat snack, I read aloud from a chapter book to the class. I LOVE reading to my kiddos and this is one of my favorite times of the day. They get to sit and eat while listening to part of a wonderful story. It is a very relaxed time where we all just get to unwind for a few minutes!

I hope you'll join up to this linky party and share the ways that you do snack in your classroom! Feel free to grab the linky party button for this one at the top of the post too!

Friday, July 29, 2011

First Day Flippy

What a tongue twister!

After stalking many blogs, I'm shocked at how many of you are already getting ready to go back to school! In Michigan, we don't start until the day after Labor Day!

This "first day flippy book" is available on TpT!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Math Workstation Organization

I spent several hours at school this week getting things organized for my future math workstations.

Who knew I had so much STUFF?!

I so should have taken a "before" and "after" picture because the after is pretty impressive... I'll post the "after" once I get the labels on my workstation containers.

So, here is how I started:

I went in to class and made labels on sticky notes for all of the workstation containers I thought I might have and put them on a table.

I started taking apart the manipulatives that came with our math program. I put 6 of each in a baggie with that workstation, 5 of each in a small container that will remain out just in case we need one of them randomly, and the rest in a large freezer bag to put away.

Then I took apart the "workstations" that I used last year. They weren't true "workstations" and they all dealt with math facts, so I re-assigned them.

Finally, I had a three drawer cart full of math games that I used a lot when I taught 2nd grade, but with the split class, it was hard to find time to use them so we didn't. So, I moved each of those to a workstation bin too.

Oh yeah- I also have a basket in my classroom library for science and math books. I took all the math books out and assigned them to one of the workstations.

Here's the giant mess on my table when I was done!

Then I started putting them in the extra containers I had left over. Wow, was Debbie Diller ever right! I had so many containers at the end and I am so glad I didn't go out and buy a bunch to get started!

I had one huge empty container in my storage, so that is where the rest of the "extras" went. I never really thought about how much extra materials I had... but did I really need 30 sets of dominoes or 40 1000 base-10 blocks?! Seriously!

Here's my stack of extra containers...

And those bins on top have 6 smaller shoe box sized containers inside! I used the big one with the black lid for my measurement stuff because I have a large set of jugs for measuring and I also used all of the clear containers. But I was able to use the shoe box sized containers to organize other things AND the three drawer pink container is now empty! An empty container is a teacher's dream!!!!

It was very gratifying to get that job accomplished. I know my math time is going to be so much more effective this year for my kiddos. This approach is perfect for a split class!

Here are some labels I made for my tubs. I plan to print on cardstock, laminate, and use my marvelous "Mavalus" tape to affix to my tubs!I have been working on some math workstation activities that are appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders. So far, time and number sense are complete and available at my TpT store. Both files have six activities that you can use to supplement workstations you already have in your classroom!

Ok! I'll post a picture inside my now beautifully organized closet when I get the labels on my workstation bins... and, hopefully, I'll be back on here soon to upload a freebie for everyone! :)

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Winners! Winners! Winners! Winners! Winners!

I feel like Oprah! You get a flippy! And you get a flippy! And you! And you! And YOU get a flippy!

Thanks, everyone, so very much for supporting my blog! I can hardly believe I actually hit 500 followers today!

So... that means I chose 5 winners.

I can't figure out how to get the image from the random number generator so, you'll just have to take my word for it!

Congratulations to the following winners:

Candace Orris #128

Chris Brown #96

Sarah #32

Jill from Marvelous Multiagers #92


Abby from Third Grade Bookworm #101

Please please comment on this post AND e-mail me at by Friday so I can send you your free set of flippy books! I'd love it if you would leave a happy post on your blog too! :)

Remember you can choose the grammar, holiday, or science pack!

Thanks again to everyone who follows and reads my post! This has been a great giveaway... I'll be doing something special for everyone who didn't win in the next few days!

It's Wednesday!

I just got back from Target and found so many great treasures again! :)

I'm going to get working on some math workstation items for The Teaching Oasis, but wanted to pop on and say that I only need 14 more followers by tonight in order to give away FIVE flippy book sets for my giveaway!

Come on, blogosphere... we can do it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Money Math Workstation Game... OOPS!!!!!

If you downloaded my money "Cha-Ching!" game earlier, you'll need to re-download it.

I was sharing my game with my lovely husband who pointed out that "Lucky You!" wasn't really that lucky because, even though it said you'd get another turn, you weren't really getting a turn to begin with if that is what you rolled! As much as I hate to admit it... he's right. But let's not tell him that! :)

So, I changed the rule to make it so that if you roll "Lucky You!" instead you get to choose which coin you want to take and you take the amount indicated by the second dice that was rolled.

Hope that makes sense! You can download the corrected file in the post below.

Money math workstation game freebie!

So, I was at Target (imagine that) and I tried... I promise... to walk past the dollar section. But then I saw these silverware trays and they were only $1.00! Not even the $2.50 section! I knew I had to have them but didn't know what I'd use them for. Well, today I dreamed up a money math workstation for them! I call it "Cha-Ching!".

Now, I think that even if you don't have these, you could still make the game by making paper work mats or something. I am just excited about these because my kiddos will be able to keep the coins separate to make it easier for them to keep track of everything.

Here is the file... I hope you can use it! Be sure to open it with Adobe because the last page has a region that you will need to fill in before you print!

Don't forget about my giveaway!

Tomorrow is the day my giveaway ends! I'm 50 followers away from 500 and, though it is definitely a stretch, if I can hit it before the giveaway ends I'll choose 5... that's right F-I-V-E... winners!

Be sure you click here to read the giveaway post below and follow the three tasks on the post (follow, blog, comment).

Spread the word... I'd LOOOOVE to have 5 winners!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Clip Chart Check List Freebie

Thanks Stacee for asking about this "Clip Chart Check List"!

Here is the file for you to use to document your students' clip chart colors at the end of each day. Once you download the file in Adobe, you can fill in the text for the month and student names.
And here's a sample that I filled out a bit so you can see how I use it. I added a blurb to explain on the image... just click to view it larger!

Sloppy Handwriting and Lazy Spellling Are Disrespectful to your reader!

...THAT (the blog title!) is our class writing motto. We say it before beginning any writing assignment... every single one. All I have to do is start it... "Sloppy handwriting and lazy spelling..." and then a chorus of tiny voices pipes up and finishes... "are disrespectful to your reader". Read on to see my answer to Jennifer's Handwriting Linky Party!

I am a teacher who used to have a very laxidasical approach to handwriting. I felt like if I could read it, it was OK because my handwriting as an adult isn't the same way it was when I was in 2nd grade. And then I would rationalize it by thinking about how much we use a keyboard, instead of a pencil to write... BUT, then I read "Writing Essentials" by Regie Routman as part of the coursework in one of my Master's degree classes. The book is phenomenal and, if you're looking for a good book about writing, that's the one! Thanks, Marygrove, for having us read it!

Anyway, she has a line in the book that is very similar to what my new writing motto is and it really made me stop and think about handwriting... and how I wasn't teaching my students to have pride in or care for their work because I was letting them disrespect it by rushing through sloppily.

And my whole outlook on handwriting changed. I now value it and teach my students that they need to respect their reader by using their best handwriting. Reminding them with our writing motto, which is posted in several places around the room too- the sign below is hanging above the writing table, is a good and quick way to help them remember to do their best work. We also discuss who their reader is for each assignment so they understand who they are being respectful of. It's also a great tie-in to author's purpose!

We practice our handwriting via explicit teaching at the beginning of the year using this book I created which is available at my TpT store. For the rest of the year, students who need extra practice, do a handwriting sheet every Friday while they wait to take their spelling test.

I also feature student work on my "Star Effort" board and, if we need a handwriting boost, I'll choose work with excellent handwriting. That student receives a special award on Friday and their work is displayed for the week so other students can see what "star effort" work looks like. Here's what my frame looks like- this is on my dining room table, but it hangs on the board at the front of the room. It's just a magnetic 8 1/2" x 11" frame that I got at Wal-Mart and used my scrapbooking things to jazz up!

Join up with "Seriously" Primary's Handwriting Linky Party to share your handwriting tips too!

Next Year I Promise To...

Thanks, Clutter Free Classroom, for hosting a "New School Year Resolutions" linky party!

My resolution for the upcoming year is to put stuff away as soon as I'm done using it so I can find it again as soon as I need it!

I am notorious for forgetting where things are! I consider myself to be an organized person and I do LOVE my weekly organizer from Lakeshore Learning- you can see them in the "behind my desk" picture below...

...BUT... if I forget to put something inside of my daily bin or I get my own personal teaching "light bulb" moment and need something I haven't planned for... well, I can't find it!

I say to my kids on a daily basis, "If there is ever a day I can find everything I need, as soon as I need it, we'll have a party" and they are always patiently waiting for that day... which will never come! Until now. Because next school year, I vow to keep track of my things and put them away as soon as I finish!

Head on over to Clutter Free Classroom to join the fun!

Makin' it to the Top: Clip chart overview

Perfect! The Lesson Plan Diva is hosting a "behavior management" linky party! Head on over to link up and join the fun of discovering new ways to keep your kiddos making good choices!

Thanks so much for all of your questions on how I use my clip chart in my classroom. Those of you who have been following me know that I am very wordy... so strap in for a long post! :)

Ok. Before I begin, I will let you know that when I started using a clip chart last year, I first read this e-book by New Management which answered a lot of my questions. I am by no means THE authority on clip charts, but I do think it's super cool that so many of you are interested in how it works for me!

Establishing your expectations...
One of the first things you need to do as a teacher is decide what is going to constitute a "clip down" and start thinking about which student choices will allow a "clip up". My "clip down" is much more defined than when students "clip up". I like this for two reasons- 1.) they know exactly which choices will earn them a movement down on the clip chart and 2.) they have an idea of what they need to do to clip up, but because it is more loosely defined, they are constantly aware of their choices and I'm not locked in to a situation where every time they do one thing, they will automatically get to move their clips up. I hope that makes sense.

In the beginning...
In the beginning of the year, kids got to move their clips up like crazy. I even let one or two get all the way to the coveted "pink" on the first day of school! I am very lengthy and descriptive about why I let kids "clip up". I might say, "Wow! John, you heard me ask you to push your chair in before you lined up and I noticed that several kids forgot, but you followed directions right away! It really helps us move safely in our classroom when kids push their chairs in. Please go move your clip up," and as he goes to move his clip up, the 10 kids who forgot to push their chairs in immediately go back and follow directions... without me having to say one word to them. For the first month or so of school, it goes like this- me giving very specific feedback about positive choices so that they can vicariously learn exactly what types of behavior I expect in my classroom. In the beginning of the year, lots of kids get to move up but few actually get to the top. I used "the top" very sparingly. All of my kiddos had gotten there at least once by the end of the year, most twice, and some three or four times.

Maintaining in the middle...
After your clip chart routines are established, it is really important to continue the intermittent rewards during the middle of the year. I say things like, "Tony, I appreciate how you raised your hand before you gave your answer. That helps things move smoothly when we take turns speaking" and I might let him clip up, but I might not. Intermittent rewards are so important for the clip chart. My kiddos learn that we don't always get a reward and sometimes we just do things because they are the right thing to do.

The power of the clip chart when things are crazy!...
Wow did this clip chart save my sanity at times this past year! My kids LOVED the opportunity to move up on the clip chart and, because they knew that I might notice them at any time doing the right thing and I MIGHT ask them to clip up, I could usually see them consciously trying to exhibit the expected behaviors in the classroom. However, when they were not, the clip chart was an easy way to corral them back in. I would just say, "Oh no! I was just about to ask someone to move their clip up, but when I turned around, they weren't making that great choice anymore! I'll keep watching them to see if they have made a better choice". Sneaky right? Or I would say, "I'm looking for someone who wants to move their clip up by making good choices right now".

Why I LOOOOOVE the clip chart...
In the past when I used a red-yellow-green system, the only incentive at all to behave had to be intrinsic. They had to want to stay on green and, let's face it, we all know who our high-flyer kids are and they usually have been so burned by behavior systems like red-yellow-green that they believe they can't behave and so they don't try. Or, more likely, there haven't been sufficient opportunities for them to figure out what it means to behave because they aren't even getting to see other kids recognized for making good choices! I know some people are very anti-extrinsic motivators, but the clip chart serves both purposes. It is an extrinsic visual motivator that gives such feelings of pride when they succeed at moving up. Kids learn how to make good choices and what it feels like to be proud of their own actions- especially when given specific feedback about their choices... not just "good job" or "good choice", but taking the time to explain what they did so that they understand it was their CHOICE that was good, not them as a person. The clip chart takes the focus off of students as who they are, but what their choices are. On a red-yellow-green system, only the "naughty" kids ever hear their names. This makes it so that those kids have a chance to be recognized for good choices too.

Here is a powerful testament to the clip chart. Mid-way through this past year I got a new student. This student came with a 10-page long behavior plan from his old school. I had to have a behavior meeting about him before he even started in my class! Now, I'm a very competent classroom manager, but I'll admit that I was nervous! He came in and responded extremely well to the positive environment in my classroom... and when he realized that he wasn't only going to be penalized for his choices (via a red-yellow-green only system) and that he was capable of making good choices that could earn him praise and happy feelings about himself, his behavior was GREAT! Not to say that he didn't have a bad day here or there, but I honestly saw none of the behaviors outlined in the behavior plan that came from the old school. I truly believe it is because the clip chart focuses on good choices rather than just consistently zeroing in on poor ones.

Making "clip ups" special...
In my classroom, when you make it to the top, you get a special sticker to wear home, a happy note, and you get to add a jewel to your clip. The class will also clap and cheer and share in the "clip upper's" excitement! Click here to go to my class website to download some happy notes for your classroom!

Making "clip downs" painless...
The point of the clip chart is for kids to learn how they can be responsible for their own choices. When I used a red-yellow-green system, my high-flyers had a very difficult time accepting the fact that they had to move down a color. Not only that, but I didn't allow you to move up if you changed your choices later in the day when I used that system. Now as a more seasoned teacher, I understand that I was completely and unfairly sabotaging those students and setting them up to fail. If a kid gets on "yellow" 10-minutes into the day, what incentive do they have to change their choices? None. By then, they'd already be feeling crummy and, if they don't feel their best they aren't going to be their best.

My students know that poor choices will earn you a consequence, but you have the opportunity to learn from your poor choices and change your behavior. I have found that, even when having to make a move to orange or (insert terrifying sound here) RED, my kids accept it on this system because they get it. They understand why they are having to do isn't just because Mrs. Bainbridge is mean, it's because the choice that got made was not acceptable.

In my class, moving to yellow is just a warning. Orange means a loss of 5-minutes of recess so we can have a chat about making good choices on a students' own time... NOT my class time. Red is a loss of an entire recess (15-minutes), the student has to write a behavior reflection, and I will make a parent contact either by phone (which the student will participate in) or note/e-mail.

Why it works for me...
In my pre-clip chart era as a teacher, I would leave feeling like I had griped at my kids all day and that, no matter how hard I tried to "get them to behave", it didn't work. The clip chart puts it on them. No longer am I just recognizing the bad behavior! And we all have kiddos who will get our attention any way they can get it- good or bad- and, as long as they are getting our attention, they don't even care that it is negative. This system allows me to get the behavior I want on my terms. Kids have to earn their behavior level in my classroom, I don't just give it to them based on how I am feeling at any certain moment. If a kid is having a bad day when they walk in my door, I can change it immediately by finding them doing one good thing and asking them to move their clip up for it. Instantly the chances of them having a meltdown or a horrible behavior day are greatly reduced. This system helps kids be responsible for their own choices. I love that!

Clip chart questions...
So, here are the answers to some questions I've gotten in the past regarding the clip chart...

Q-But what if a student moves to red? Can they really move back up on the clip chart?
A-Yes. They will still receive their consequence which, for my students, is a loss of an entire recess, behavior reflection to go home and be signed, and a parent contact. It has never happened that a student has moved to red and then had such wonderful choices that they have moved too far back up the clip chart... so for those worried about that, I don't see it happening. The beauty of it is that you control when they move up. So you can allow a student to move back up at your own discretion, particularly if you leave the parameters for moving up more open ended as I suggested. I will add that if a student moves to red and later makes a good choice and gets to be on yellow they would not then get the yellow level consequence (-5 min. of recess). They would still owe me the whole recess.

Q-But what if a student gets to outstanding and then their behavior spirals out of control? Do they still get to keep their goodies for getting to the top?
A-Any kid who would have such extreme behavior should probably be on their own individual behavior plan. This has never happened in my classroom so I can't speak to my own experiences on this matter, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. I keep my high-flyers waiting to get to the top throughout the day... so if I can tell one of my kiddos is going to have a rough day, I set them up to be successful by allowing them to clip up a level early in the day. This keeps them on their toes, aware of their choices, and eliminates the "I'll never clip up" feeling that those kiddos sometimes feel.

Q-Does it take a lot of time to use a clip chart?
A-Not at all! The kids clip up and down themselves and all you have to do as the teacher is be aware of the choices being made in your classroom and then ask kids to clip up or down because of them. I would highly recommend being wordy with your explanations when you ask them to clip up. It truly helps the other kids learn what they need to do in a more internal way than just you telling them. I promise that when you say to one kid, "Wow! That piece of paper has been on the floor all day and everyone else has ignored it, but you picked it up even though it isn't yours. You really showed a lot of responsibility by doing that. Thanks for keeping our classroom beautiful. Please move your clip up!"... I promise that the other kids in your room will immediately look on the floor for trash and will be more aware of picking it up tomorrow!

Q-I'm a little concerned about posting the clip chart for everyone to see. Won't it bother the kids who are below green?
A-I haven't had any issues with this. My clip chart is posted in the back of my classroom and I know some teachers don't have student names written on clips- instead they have numbers. I think the kids would still know which number went with each student, but parents or visitors to the room wouldn't be able to see who was where on the clip chart. I think that it is a good visual reminder of choices made and a perfect visual for kids to see what they are striving for.

Q-Your colors on the clip chart are reversed from what they show in the e-book... how come?
A-I prefer having the "cooler" colors at the top. Red has a more threatening connotation, so I have that at the bottom of my chart and then it goes up in a kind of "reverse rainbow order"- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink.

Q-Would you please share your words on your clip chart?
A-Sure! You can find my clip chart files on my class website in the "c" section of my Teacher Files page. Ms. Fiorini is also working on themed clip chart sayings. You can visit her blog to see some. Soon more will be for sale at The Teaching Oasis!

Ok! I think that's it! If you have other questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I'll be sure to address them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Classroom Awards Freebie

I was just working on this item for The Teaching Oasis and figured I'd put it up here for you all to grab if you'd like!

I have many themed awards available on my Teacher's Notebook shop. I give out awards every Friday in my classroom for a variety of things: good choices, academic performance, friendship... I give out 5 to 7 awards each week and my kiddos really look forward to finding out who is going to get an award.

I really play it up and we do big clapping, hand shaking, and I make sure I am very thorough in explaining why I chose each student for their award to help the whole "vicarious learning" of expected behaviors.

Anyway, I've always used store bought awards in the past, but this coming year I will be using the different themed awards just to keep things spiced up. I know my kiddos will love seeing the different awards as the year goes on.

SO... here's a baseball themed award for you for giving to someone who has really had a "home run" week or made a "home run" choice! Please let me know what you think!

For some reason, the image of it isn't formatted correctly, but when you download it, it will look right in Adobe. I've been tinkering with it for a while and can't figure out why it looks weird in Google Docs. Any tips?

Don't forget to head on down to my giveaway post... 4 winners will be announced on Wednesday!

Good Giveaway News...

YESSSS! I have over 400 followers! So... that means that on Wednesday, I'll be giving away 4 sets of flippy books!

If you haven't already, check out my giveaway post below to find out how you can have a chance to win!

My plan is to do a meaningful post later today... we'll see what happens!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grab My Button!

Ok- I didn't realize the html for my "grab my button" wasn't correct. I have fixed it... so I'm so sorry, but if you have used that code, you'll need to re-do it. The html had my blog as "bainbridgesclass" and you don't need the "s" after bainbridge!

Thanks, Mrs. A, for pointing that out!

Back in action... giveaway time!

Hi friends! I am so happy to report that, after a day full of delays (one that involved us sitting on the runway in the +100 degree New York heat for more than 30 minutes in an airplane that they knew they weren't going to fly us on because a computer was down and then they made us get off and go wait in the terminal for a different plane, which did nothing good for someone like me who is afraid to fly anyway!) we finally made it safely home! I am drinking my own coffee (yum!) out of my new New York City skyline silhouette mug and doing some laundry and, as much as I loved NYC, who doesn't love getting home after a long trip?

But enough of that! I hit 300 followers while I was on vacation and that means a giveaway is in store! AND... right now I'm only 17 followers away from 400, so if I hit 400 before this giveaway ends, I will choose 4 winners... 1 for every 100 followers! How awesome is that?!

So, here's what you do and here's what you win...

1.) Become a follower of my blog if you are not already.
2.) Blog about this giveaway if you have a blog. Go forth and spread the word! Feel free to use the "Flippy Giveaway" button too!
3.) Leave a comment. Whatever you want to say... say it!

On Wednesday (7/27) when we're all feeling the "Middle-of-the-Week-Mehs", I will choose the winner(s?) by random number generator and you will win your choice of a set of flippy books!

You get your choice of:
*holidays set- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, 100th Day, birthday
*grammar set- nouns, verbs, adjectives, contractions
*science set- water cycle, magnets, plant parts, vertebrates (one for each vertebrate group!), and matter

And, if you missed any of my posts explaining what a "flippy" is, here's the link! And... if you don't win (which I hope you do and I hope I get to choose 4 winners!), you can always purchase them at The Teaching Oasis! I am really in to making these... so maybe in your comment, you can let me know what other flippy books you'd like to see!

Ok- that's it! GO!
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