Saturday, August 31, 2019

My FAVORITE First Week Tradition

I'm recycling an old picture from my first year teaching 3rd grade... which was in 2012!, to show you one of my favorite first week project traditions...

During the first day of school I always have my students do this:

1.)  I print each students' name in a bubble font.
2.)  They color their names, cut them out, and glue them on construction paper... which they then cut aroud.
3.)  I laminate them and hang them up so they are there on the 2nd day (usually!).
4.)  They stay there all year long!

I love having this outside of our classroom!  It's an easy way to showcase your classroom family!

I go back on Tuesday and am so excited!  Enjoy the long weekend and, those of you heading back for the first day on Tuesday with me... happy last weekend!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sharing About Summer {A Back to School Must Read}

I remember back to school shopping as a kid.  An entire day out with my mom and my sister, knowing we'd be going tout to lunch, trying on outfits, new shoes, a new backpack and a pencil box full of supplies.

I would organize and re-organize that pencil box each night in the days leading up to the first day of school, making sure that the crayons, scissors, glue, and pencils fit just right.  Putting it into my backpack with the folders, notebooks, and ruler... getting everything perfect so I'd be ready for school.

This is a fond memory for me, what can I say, I enjoy organizing stuff!  But, sometimes I will see something so small and realize how fortunate I am for the things I have in my life.

Once, for example, years ago when I taught third grade, we were talking about our hopes and dreams for our futures.  Lots of my students wrote about career goals or experiences they wanted to have.

One of my little girls wrote that her dream was to eat at Red Lobster.  She had never been there, you see, and to her, this was the height of fine dining and the biggest thing atop her 9-year-old bucket list.

I can go to Red Lobster on any random Tuesday, but this little girl, she had only ever left our little rural community a handful of times in her life so to go to the "big city" 30 minutes away and to even think about eating at Red Lobster, well, that was a big deal.

It's things like this that make me go, "Wow."  I had a good childhood.  Two parents who loved me, a sister to play with, dogs, trips, family memories.  And I'm so thankful for those good times! 

But, this leads me to summer vacation.

We're all getting ready to go back to school.

The bulletin boards are hung.  The name tags are ready.  Books are organized, copies are made, and soon, kids will be heading back to school!

Some of them haven't gone on trips, made memories with their parents, or even known where their dinner was going to come from that night.  Some have had to entertain themselves all day, walk to school where, thankfully, there's a free breakfast and lunch program running each day.  Some are coming in with clothing from last year because they didn't get to do that big "back to school shopping trip" that I always so looked forward to as a kid.

They didn't get new supplies.  They didn't get new shoes.  They don't have a backpack.

And, on the first day, when it's time to do that project where everyone writes and shares about their summer... they don't have those stories to tell about the family trip to the beach, the bonfire on the 4th of July, going shopping... even eating at Red Lobster.

When thinking about inclusivity in our classrooms, making everyone feel valued and loved... how can we re-frame that traditional "tell about your summer" so that those kids who don't have stories to tell can still feel valued and included?

This is just my two cents, but I hope that it will give our teaching community something to think about as it's almost time for that bell to ring!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Because Who Doesn't Love a Sticker Book?!

Where my 80s babies at?  Collecting those Lisa Frank and Mrs. Grossman stickers... lovingly placing them in our sticker books and sitting back to enjoy that collection!

Who doesn't love a sticker book?!

That's why my students will be collecting stickers this year and I KNOW they are going to love it!

Last year, I tied my individual student behavior system (Class Dojo) to a class store and students could cash in their points at the end of each week.  Sometimes they would save them, not spend them all, or just take a looooong time deciding what they wanted from the store.  Long story short, it became a lot for me to manage and took up too much time to have them shop.  So, it started happening every other week... and then only monthly.

This year, I'm going to give a sticker to students who earn 5 or more Dojo points in a day and, when they have five stickers, they can choose something from the prize box.

Easy peasy.

I posted it on TpT in a fully editable format so you can set your own goals and use it for students who master math facts, behavior goals, any thing you can think of!  Or tie it to your behavior system you already have in place like I did!

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Oldie But A Goodie: Best Formative Assessment Game!

If you've been around this blog a while, you've seen me talk about my FAVORITE game before.  It's called "Back-to-Back" and it's the PERFECT way to get a quick check on how your students are doing on a concept.

We use this weekly in my classroom and the kids absolutely love it.  I love that I can see who's got it and who needs more practice!

Click the image below to check it out.  The two kiddos in this video were in 1st and 2nd grades when this was posted... they're such big kids now!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Oldie But A Goodie: Simple Word Work Hack!

Ready to instantly jazz up your students with the simplest word work activity EVER?  I posted about this ages ago... just add a dry erase marker and a classroom window!  They can write their words on the window and they think it's amazing!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Oldie But A Goodie: Banners and a PDF Printing Hack!

Looking for an easy way to jazz up your decor?  I have themed bunting banners in my TpT store... for SO many themes!

Just print them and even customize in PowerPoint!

If you're printing as they are, you can adjust the sizes by clicking a few things in the ADOBE print menu...

Voila!  Re-sized PDF anything!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Back to School Sale @ TpT And My ALL TIME FAVORITE FREEBIE!

I'm SO excited for today.  I'm headed to IKEA AND Lakeshore AND Cheesecake Factory with some teacher friends and I can't WAIT to get out the door and get to shopping!

And then, when I get home, I can shop some more because it's time for the TpT Back to School Sale!

I've been BUSY this summer making things to get ready for my return to 2nd grade.  Here are a few things that might work for you too!

Be sure to scroll all the way to the end so I can highlight a few FREEBIES too!

And the FREEBIES!!!!!

This one is HOT OFF THE PRESSES and just posted last night!  I can't wait to use this with my 2nd graders this year!

And, some oldies but goodies...

And now... for my ALL TIME FAVORITE FREEBIE... I LOVE doing this every month.  Just take a picture of your kiddos, have them do a little writing, save them all and you have an instant keepsake at the end of the year!

Happy Back to School-ing to you!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

This Weekend's Cricut Projects

I want to shout it from the roof tops and I don't care who knows it...

I LOVE MY CRICUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is what I made this weekend.

I found some vinyl at Wal-Mart and was so happy because it was less than $5 for the roll and it was Cricut brand!  As a newbie, I didn't look at the packaging carefully and ended up buying removable vinyl.  At first, I was bummed.  But, then I realized that this is probably just the kind of vinyl I would need to use on my white board at school!

So, I got busy making vinyl for different white board areas.  I have a floor to ceiling white board at the front and back of my classroom... I think each one is 12 feet long!  That's a lot of space for vinyling!  (Think an image of Mr. Burns with his fingers together saying, "Excellent".  Me.  That's how I feel about this!)


I bought one of those magnetic LED lights from Bullseye's playground for $3... I'm going to use it for a voice level display.  I tried first to put the words inside each number... but that didn't pan out.  So, now I'll place them below or next to when I put them on the board.

Finally, I did something with PAPER!!!!!  This will go at the top of my back white board, I think!  I can't WAIT to be able to get into my room and put all of this stuff (and the box in my garage and the box in my office and the stuff in the back of my Jeep) up and away! 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Math Vocabulary Cards- Organization and a Freebie!

First of all, how is it August?!  This summer has flown by.  I've actually spent a lot of time relaxing and have spent a lot of time working on stuff for school, which is one of the ways I relax!

The last few days I've been working on some math vocabulary cards.

This was my situation earlier today...

A mountain of laminated word cards to cut out.  Thank goodness for my little laminator though!  Its definitely gotten a workout this summer!

Chum, my little helper, has been overseeing this project today.

So, I cut out all of the word cards for each of the 8 math modules for 2nd grade.  I hole punched them and put them on separate binder rings.

Each card has a number on the bottom- this is the 2.7 ring.  That's for 2nd grade Module 7!  This will make it so easy to sort them out and keep them organized!

Then I thought I should make "covers" for each binder ring set.

And, now my rainbow order obsessed heart is happy!

You can get the first set of cards for FREE!  Doesn't matter if you use the same program as me or not... the cards can definitely be used with any math!

Click the picture below to check out the bundle of all 8 modules.  You can find the Module 1 freebie there!

And, maybe your kiddos are quicker at transitions than mine... but I found I was losing 4-5 minutes a day on math instruction due to transitions during our math workshop time!  I figured out a fix for this and a way to capitalize on those lost minutes to make the waiting meaningful!

Check out these 284 MATH TRANSITION CARDS!

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