30 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Indoor Recess

I'm back with another Wordless Wednesday hosted by the fab Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice!

My students basically get "free time" when the weather's bad and we have to do indoor recess? This is actually the first school I've taught at that actually even HAS recess! 

What are your students allowed to do when you're stuck inside during recess? I'd love for you to share in the comments!


29 April 2014

Counting Chickens Before They Hatch

As the title of this post indicates, I'm sure I'm counting my chickens before they hatch, but for the first time since I started teaching, I have ZERO plans to switch schools, districts, states, grades, or classrooms!

That being said, I'm actually able to start thinking about next year, and {gasp} have even started planning and getting things ready.

For the past few weeks, I've been working on my Chevron Brights Collection of classroom decor items in my TpT store, and last night I began printing! To see my products come to life was THRILLING! Even more thrilling? Laminating them today at school. That's right, I laminated stuff for NEXT.SCHOOL.YEAR! (Is there always a line for the laminator at the beginning of the school year at your school?) For the first time EVER, I might just be able to get ahead of the game, instead of always feeling like I'm playing catch-up!

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you what I'm printing/laminating, and how I plan on using it!

For up, are my team signs. I have tried having students name their own teams (which usually results in something ridiculous like "The Flying Pickles" that I can't ever remember), and I've tried using colors, but somehow I get twisted on those too. The only fool-proof way to "label" teams, is for me to use numbers. I have six groups of 4 students each, so these signs work perfectly. I printed out two copies, and glued back-to-back. These will be hanging above each team.

If numbers aren't you thing, I do have the option to use colors instead. With either product, there are enough signs to have a total of 10 groups/teams. You can also mix and match the backgrounds like I did in the picture or choose to have all the backgrounds the same color.

I don't know about you, but I'm all about making things quick and easy. I learned, that while it doesn't seem like much, I don't want to have to take the time to write the day of the week, date, month, and year every.single.day. Instead, I have all the days of the week, months of the year, and even the year printed and backed with magnets, and the only thing I actually have to write is the number date. I just switch days and months as needed. Oh, and I ALWAYS have the next year printed and ready to go, because who wants to come back after a break and have to worry about writing the new year?!?

As with the team signs, you have the option to choose a single color scheme, or to mix and match like I did.

Next, are the "How Do You Get Home?" cards. I only printed the ones I needed, but there's lots of other choices included in the product. My sweets mode of transportation changes more than I change...well, it changes A LOT! Anyway, I need a way to keep track. My kiddos just move their clip to however they're getting home that day (as reflected on their transportation log). Easy.

I plan on using some cute ribbon to attach these together. I'll post the finished product. (Let's just focus on the fact that I have them printed AND laminated already!

I have ALWAYS used jobs in my classroom to help motivate my students, and to get them to start thinking more globally. You know, the world doesn't begin and end in the four walls of our classroom. Classroom jobs are a great way to get buy-in from you students, motivate students who may struggle academically or behaviorally, and ultimately, it keeps YOU from having to do every little job in the classroom. 

Side note - every student in my class has a job at all times. Not just 5 or 6 students. Seriously, try it. You will be amazed at how the dynamic of your changes. It takes a little time, and some practice. But the results are...wow!

Onward...In the past, I've used cards that have clip art on them (don't worry - they're still there!), but something about the simplicity of just the words really appealed to me. Should I realize that I miss the clip art, no worries...it's still included in the product! You choose!

I also printed out the calendar cards. I add the current date to the calendar each day. Special occasions take the place of numbers. My students LOVE seeing birthday cards, holiday cards, and even things like April Fool's Day, and so on. 

The last two things I got ready for next year, are my birthday certificates, and student of the week certificates. While there are options to print color versions with classic {chevron brights} backgrounds, however, I have to make conscious choices about what I print in color. My school printer prints black and white only, and so I decided to print one copy of each in black and white (included in the product), and then I made a ton of copies on bright paper. Love how they turned out!

The birthday certificates also come with materials to create a birthday display bulletin board. I'll post more on that at another time.

Coming soon will be a Management Monday post all about how I do Student of the Week in my classroom!

So there you have it my friends. The start of getting ready for next year. It's such an amazing feeling, and I'm thrilled that after 4 years of teaching, I actually know what it feels like!

While this post had lots of links for the products I used, I thought it might be helpful to have them all in one place.

Happy Teaching!


28 April 2014

Management Monday - Privacy Shields

I absolutely love this quote! I tell this to my students all.the.time. We talk about what it means a lot, and why it's ok to not know something, but it's not ok to at least try. My sweet seconds, they get it. 

However, when it comes time to actually "show what they know," my sweets tend to have wandering eyes. In fact, I think it's human nature to want to know what's going on "next door." Heck, the Mr. is constantly telling me what a nosey Rosey I am.

That being said, I'm sure you've seen what I call "Privacy Shields" on websites like Really Good Stuff, Lakeshore, etc...but they're pricey. Like in the neighborhood of $9 each. Yikes! 

My very first year teaching I knew I wasn't spending well over $100 on privacy/testing shields! So I made my own. Four years later, I'm still using the SAME privacy shields! These babies have seen 3 different school districts, two different states, second graders and fourth graders! 
Button Credits: KG Fonts, Hello Fonts, Melonheadz, Creative Clips
Here's what you'll need to make them:
  • 2 file folders for each student in your class (I made a total of 25 privacy shields, so I used 50 file folders) - you could choose to color code based on table groups, but I just used the plain manila ones. You can get this box of 100 (that's 50 privacy shields!!!) for less than $6 on Amazon.
  • Clear Packing Tape (to attach the two file folders together)
  • Marker (to number your shields)
  • Optional - laminator for added durability
Gather your materials!
Attach two folders together using the packing tape. Repeat until all folders are attached.

I number each privacy shield (I do this so that each student uses the folder that correlates to his/her class number - it keeps students accountable to taking care of their own privacy shield). I alternated colors because it gives me the option to say something like, "If your testing shield number is blue..." Just another classroom management strategy!

Laminate (Seriously - don't skip this step!) and trim!

No worries if they aren't exactly the same size. Although, I suppose you could get out the ruler and ensure exactness!

It's that easy! You now have privacy shields for cheap, cheap, cheap!

25 April 2014

Five for Friday - April 25th

I'm so excited to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my first Five for Friday post!

Today, we officially started counting down to summer! Seriously, where has this year gone? I'm not going to lie, I'm really going to miss this class! Possibly one of the most interesting classes I've had yet! I've even had some parents ask if I'd consider looping! What a flattering request! Unfortunately, I'm not interested in leaving 2nd grade! 

Anyway, we're in the TEENS people! Anyone else counting down? If so, you can grab the countdown above, here! {Helloooo, FREE!}

Saw the above glasses on Pinterest! And honestly, I had about 3 of the "don't even ask" days in a row.  I'm so saddened by a parent that doesn't see/understand that I have their child's best interests in mind. Seriously, my sweets are like my own kids. Since the 3rd day of school, I've gotten letters (usually weekly - although, I've gotten 4 letters in the last 2 weeks) that attack my character, classroom management, and are a complete insult. It's heartbreaking really. Gosh, what a Debbie Downer I am! Fortunately, I forever grateful to our guidance counselor who totally went to bat for me...multiple times! Wow! I'm just so impressed!

We finished up an awesome 2-week unit on the life cycle of a butterfly today! My sweets were in love with these paper plate life cycle models! On a whim, I had my students write on an index card (great to use for quick, easy, and inexpensive formative assessments) what was represented on their paper plate. They turned out so cute, I put them up in hall!

My sweet teammate, and blog friend Chandra over at Teaching with Crayons and Curls introduced me to Erin Condren teacher planners, and I'm obsessed with mine! BEST.PLANNER.EVER! What in the world did I do before this planner? Use this link, and you can get $10 off your order!

Last but not least, we've been reading Chocolate Fever, and today I had my students write some facts about the main character, Henry Green. I absolutely LOVED that one of my sweets wrote "Currently Diseased" - I mean does it get any better than that??? So impressed with this guy! Amazing progress!

And there you have it my friends...my first Five for Friday!
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