Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Character Development With Students

How do you work on personal character development with your students?

I do things like morning meeting, where we work on social skills to lay groundwork for character development.  We also focus on a skill each month at school, talking, reading, and learning about it.

One thing I started doing last year was posting a quote each week in the classroom.  We would talk about it and learn what it meant to "live the quote".  My first graders would dialogue about the quote and dig deep to understand the meaning behind.

At the end of each week, I would select one student who had "lived the quote" and they would get to take it home!

We loved this and they were always eager to know who was getting our quote each week, sometimes guessing who it was because they started paying attention to who was living it!

I have just posted the quotes in a pack on TpT with color and black and white quotes (I just copied mine on colored paper last year).  I also added a reflection sheet so students can explain what the quote means to them and describe how they can live it!

It's on sale for the next 24 hours for $4.00 for forty quotes- five each on perseverance, integrity, respect, kindness, mistakes, empathy, friendship, and reading.  Be sure to check out the preview on TpT for 1 quote free for each of the themes!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Oldie But a Goodie: Random Partner Pair Up Cards FREEBIE!

I LOVE these random partner pair up cards!  This freebie has been around a while, but it's a good one!

Print two sets and use to pair students up randomly!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Cricut Obsessed! - Showing Off My Creations!

So, I bought a Cricut last week... and my life will never be the same!

Seriously.  How have I gone my whole life without this thing?!

I have been raiding Bullseye's Playground at Target and have found the best items just crying out for some vinyl!

Here's what I've made so far...

First, I put my name on my Cricut.  Seemed like an easy test drive for my machine!

I used one of my $1.00 pencil boxes from Michael's (actually, more like $0.80 when bought on 20% off week!) to make a box for my Cricut tools.

Used another pencil box to make something for my nephew, who I lovingly call "Nepphie".  He likes sharks, so I added one inside the box!

I kept forgetting to change the settings on my Cricut, so I made a little reminder for myself and placed it on my Cricut!

Of course, I had to get something to hold my Cricut and organize all my stuff.  I got this beauty at Big Lots for around $50.00.

The rest of the items come from Bullseye's Playground.  Seriously.  I'm hoarding these things now so I can make gifts for friends, do some giveaways on my blog FB page, and just make more STUFF!!!!!

I don't know if I love the rules poster yet... still on the fence about this one.

Had to add the unicorn to this one!

Front and back of sign for my classroom door is below.  I will flip it around when we're testing to let others know before they enter my classroom!

I love displaying pieces of work that students have shown extra effort on.  I will hang them here!

A notebook for meetings...

I store all materials for each day in a colored bin, now there's a colored folder to match the bin so I can keep papers together for each day!

I LOVE HOW THIS TURNED OUT.  You've seen this image floating around the web.  The original printable comes from The Teacher Wife and you can find it HERE.  Here's my Bullseye's Playground meets Cricut version!  Seriously love it.  I may do some tweaking so that it doesn't overlap into the brown part of the pencil... if I do, stay tuned for a giveaway!

I'm trying to learn how to do multiple colors and layering of vinyl.  This is my 2nd attempt.  As I was doing it, I realized I needed to affix it to something to finish... so the lamp next to me it was!  But, I do think it's kinda cute.  If you have any tips for layering vinyl, I'd love to hear them!

That's my "show off" for now.  Seriously going to go back to Target today and see what else needs to be vinyl-ized!  I have picked up some other things already and they are in my "to do" pile.
Be sure to follow my blog on Facebook (link at the top of the page!) because I've already done one giveaway to win one of these...


And I definitely have more of all of those so I can do another one soon!

Do you have a Cricut?  I'd love to know what you're working on!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Oldie But a Goodie: Schedule Cards FREEBIE!

I have FREE schedule cards you can print!  Click the pic below to see them all!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Making a Weekly Homework Sheet Work for Me!

We are required to send home homework during the week and, this year, I found sending a packet home on Monday worked best for me.

Every Monday, my students received a packet with their homework for the week.  I always "assign" something per night, but they can complete it at their leisure and return on Friday!

Homework always followed the same basic format:

-a passage to read 3x to develop fluency
-a page from THIS pack on TpT that aligns with Eureka math (one of my best ever purchases and one that I will be re-purchasing so I can have the 2nd grade pack for the upcoming year!)
-a page to practice our weekly high-frequency words
-a math practice page focusing on math facts (number bonds, simple addition/subtraction, etc...)

Keeping the type of work the same allowed students to be independent, which I think parents appreciated!

My start to the school year was a whirlwind and I found it hard to keep up with creating a homework sheet and a newsletter each week, so I combined them into one and stapled it to the front of the homework packet.

It worked so well!  And, doing it on Google Slides, meant I could easily work on it at home if needed and then access at school.

This year, I have jazzed up the look of my homework sheet and I am officially in LOVE.

Here's the "look" with some fake info thrown in so you can get the full effect...

I have uploaded this template to TpT too... it's 100% editable so you can completely customize for your classroom!

If you're looking for a simple, effective homework/classroom happenings communication tool that you can customize in Google Slides, check it out!  Check out EDITABLE CALENDARS in Google Slides too!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Getting Organized for Next Year!

Starting the year last year after the year had already started (follow that?) left me feeling like I was never caught up with organization this past school year.

So, one of my summer goals was to get on top of things... especially for language arts.

I've been working for the last few days to make the spelling and high-frequency activities I'll need for my Word Work station and I am finally done!

I got the last paper filed into a folder and had to come on and show off what I've done!

Endless printing and laminating...

And then, to cut and put everything into files.

I made a file folder for each week of my reading series and put a label on each one with the unit and week, story title, phonics skill, comprehension skill and strategy, and grammar skill.  This will help me know instantly which other books and resources I need for each week!

 Inside each folder, I put the laminated high-frequency word cards and the cards for spelling "Write the Room" that I created.  Each card has an image that connects to the story of the week and I put that image on each folder label... this way, if a card comes out or shows up somewhere, I'll know exactly where it belongs!

I also put in the master copy of the spelling sorting sheet and the high-frequency word practice page for each week.  I printed these at Office Depot for $0.12 a page.  It was around $7.00 to print all 60 pages.  I'm SO glad I did this.  Last year, I printed what I needed each week, but I think it will be SO helpful to have everything printed and already in folders.  So, a few extra bucks was totally worth it to me!

I'm going to work on adding other resources to these folders too and can't wait to get back to my classroom next month and put them away!  I'll have to show you my piles of school stuff in my  house, garage, and car sometime.  I'd say you'd be shocked, but I'm willing to wager that many of you know exactly what I'm talking about!

If you use Reading Street and want to check out the 2nd grade packs I created, the link to the bundle is below.  The bundle gets you the high-frequency word cards for FREE!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A New Way to Display Desk Name Tags!

Did you see my blog post a few weeks ago about using a plastic frame to hold students' desk tags instead of taping down a traditional name tag?

Here's a Blog Post REWIND to show you all about it!

At the end of the year, I made my kiddos gifts that looked like this:

And I put them in frames like this from Dollar Tree:

I had them sitting on their desks when they came back from their special... and they loved them!  It gave me all the feels to see them so happy!  Some of them didn't want to take them home, as we had two half days of school left and so they kept them on their desks.

At first, I was thinking they might get knocked or fall or it would be hard to see over them... but none of those things happened and it was actually super convenient.  And that got me thinking that this might be an amazing way to do student name tags for desks!

So, I tried it and I made this...

And then I thought... wouldn't they love to come in on their birthdays and have something special slid into their frames?  So, I made this!

And then I thought... wouldn't it be cool to give them special little shout outs for different things during the year and have them in their frames to surprise them?  So, I made THIS...

And then I was just having so much fun that I made this pack full of options for editable desk tags and student celebrations!

I'm excited to do this in my classroom next year.  No more wrestling with tape to stick the tags down, peeling tape, cleaning gunk off tables... just easy name tags that we can move in a snap AND can use to celebrate our successes!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Danger of a Single Story: Classroom Literature and Library Implications

I just had the pleasure of attending nErDcampmi on Monday and Tuesday this week.  If you've never been or haven't heard of it, it's a totally free 2 day conference focused on literacy, books, and all things reading.

To put it simply, it was amazing.

Monday, I got to hear Donalyn Miller, Laurie Halse Anderson, Cece Bell, Minh Le, and the day ended with a keynote address by Jason Reynolds, who is one of the most amazing storytellers you could ever hope to have the pleasure of listening to.  Here he is... using a story about Go-Go music to illustrate the power we have to make students feel valued, important, and as individuals.  (Also, if you haven't read his book Long Way Down, you need to.)

I went to a session with Jillian Heise and learned all about #classroombookaday and how to implement it, Dr. Christina Dorr on poverty to possibility, and sessions yesterday on diverse reads and helping students with their own identities.

It was an amazing conference and really stressed how important representation is in our classroom libraries and in the books that we choose to read in our classrooms.  I spent 14 years of my career teaching in rural schools where there wasn't much outward diversity.  Everyone, for the most part, looked like me.  Now, I'm in an urban setting with students from all types of backgrounds.  I worked hard last year to diversify my classroom texts, which needs continual growth... but I should have been doing that in my rural white school too!!!!! 

One video was referenced over and over- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk "The Danger of a Single Story".  So, when I got home last night, before I added books to my cart on Amazon for a rainy day, I looked up the video.  I watched it.  And knew I had to share it with you.  Maybe you're one of the over 18 million people who have already viewed this... I had never heard of it.

This is a MUST view for teachers.  And, not just a must view.  It's a must think and process about.  And illustrates the insane power that we have as teachers to shape our students' world views.

Please take a few minutes and watch.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Mark your calendars for February 1, 2020... nErDcampmi registration opens and seats fill up quickly!  It's a "do not miss" experience!
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