Saturday, August 24, 2013

Instead of Housework...

I looked at my dishes yesterday (and when I say my dishes I mean the teens' dishes) and decided it would be way more fun to make something for school.
I used the printable pages from National Geo for Kids to make a information-type colouring book in ppt. It took a really, really long time. So, if anyone would like to snag a copy I am very happy to share (just click on the picture)!
 I am thinking that I will print the pages (there are 21 in all) in booklet format and give one booklet to each child with the heart crayon ( I still haven't made but totally plan to...) as a Welcome Back gift. There are actually 20 more pages, but Google Drive kept yelling at me (the file was too big), so here is the first half. If you're a follower, and would like the second half, let me know in the comments section below.

I also printed all my bb headers onto cardstock (there were a lot of dishes to ignore) and started assembling the Author Study folders I am making thanks to the freebie that Amanda at Teaching Maddeness has created. If you haven't already checked out her blog, I recommend it 110%. My gosh, it's wonderful! Click the picture to go to Amanda's page.

My big plan for the weekend is to go into the school tomorrow and start to get it organized and ready for the kids. I am bringing the hubster as I will need his muscles to move some shelves around.
Time to get crackin'! Luckily, I waited long enough yesterday for the teens' to get up and do the dishes..Now onto bigger and better things..Organizing the upstairs closet!!! Or more blog stalking/pinning/creating...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Anyone Else Starting to Feel a Little OVERWHELMED?

Absolutely true! I have been working on and thinking about the upcoming school year for weeks. I really truly love my job..not an epiphany but a fact. However, I always find that by this time in the summer, with only a week until school starts, I begin to panic. A little. On the inside. 
I have started making lists of things that need to be done, and they are getting longer and crazier. It's time to take a deep breath and relax. But, as soon as I do that I am back to thinking about everything I need to do..and feeling guilty about all the things I should have done this's a vicious cycle.
My current obsession is about Home Reading. Every year, I have had a HR program. Which is fine and dandy BUT every year I taught mainly (90%) grade 2s. This year, I will be teaching mainly (95%) grade 3s. To make things a little more complicated, I am teaching 15/20 of the same kids. I feel like I should change things up. So, HELP! 
Any ideas or resources about HR in upper primary? I'd love input. Right now, I am considering a monthly calendar type idea, but most of my kids are independent readers so the log/program has to be kid-friendly.

I'd appreciate any ideas you have...Also, what do you do to de-stress? I used to garden (I love flowers) but even that seems daunting right now...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Genre Posters...Chevron

I have spent the last while looking for genre posters. I couldn't find ones that fit my "theme-ish"
classroom idea so I made my own. I used free chevron backgrounds in blue, green and purple (blue=fiction,
green=nonfictin, purple=poetry) and images of books as the examples. I used Beth Newingham's posters as inspiration, and the dictionary for the definitions of some of the genres.
I also included Author's Purpose on each poster. I then created labels for my books so that kids can easily tell what genre they are reading. All of this is for the "20 BOOK CHALLENGE" that I intend to do with
my third graders this year. Yes, it is based on "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller-although hers is a 40 book challenge. I am hoping to do 2 twenty book challenges instead of 1 forty book. This way, my kids won't get overwhelmed. I also expect all readers to complete the challenge, as I have books in each genre at all reading levels available to the kids.
I tossed around whether to use the challenge in IR or take home reading. I opted for IR, as it will be easier to monitor and conference with each student.
SO, here are my little creations. Click on the picture to download from Google Drive...
Reading Log

12 Genre Posters

We go back to school in ten anyone else starting to feel a little overwhelmed? Baby steps to the escalator...(which is a quote from a movie I watched but can't remember the title of)...

ps For some reason, the pictures on the reading log uploaded all weird to Google Drive. If you'd like a copy of the Book Challenge emailed to you, let me know in the comments section. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Took-Me-Forever B2S Flippy Book...PLUS Template

Well, it took me hours (days) but I finally succeeded in making my very own flippy book for back to school. Each year, I try to do something different, as I am very cognizant of the fact that I teach many kids from the same family or many kids for two grades. I don't want to be the teacher who uses the exact same go-to's every year so that parents come in to Meet the Teacher and hand over worksheets that both their kids complete...4 years separately. (Yup, that happened to a teacher I know...)

So, here is what I did.
I used free fonts (KG fonts, Hello fonts, Primarily fonts) and borders from tpt and some cute clipart that was either in ppt already or I had on my computer. That was the easy part.
I decided that I only wanted to have 5 topics in my flippy book: welcome, communication, math, literacy, and general info. The sixth page would be the title page with my name etc.
Then I had to decide which topics required the most information. For example, literacy had more components than communication so it is near the end of the flippy book as the page is longer.
Then, I "guessed" the size of the boxes of text and printed out the papers, glued them back to back and folded them up. This, was BY FAR the most frustrating and time consuming part. BY. FAR.
Okay-so finally everything lined up and was good to go.
I typed my info into the boxes, using a different font for each.
I printed the file.
**I glued the papers together..CONFUSING BUT MUST READ...the flippy books have to be glued or photocopied in a certain way. The title page is glued to the last page (6) upside, you end up with the title box on one side and the general info on the back but on the bottom...REPEAT for every page...that means that page 2 and page 5 go together and page 3 and page 4 go together.
I strongly recommend folding them at this point and jiggying things around if you need to.

My plan is to use 3 colours of bright paper to p/c the pages onto (for 6 pages of flippy book you only need 3 pages), staple and send home for parents. I am trying to decide whether to put a little magnet on the back so that my family's can hang them on the fridge.

So, here is the finished product:

FLIPPY BOOK...pdf fonts, pictures, etc...
will have to add your own text and cut & paste it in...

ppt version-some of the titles are cut off...
you'll have to add your own/jiggy the fonts around...can type right onto page..

 I have uploaded a copy of my ppt flippy book so that you can edit it and add in your own information if you'd like to use it. Just click on either picture :)  Or the pdf version with my fonts etc.

What do you send home for parents at the beginning of the year?


Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Memory Book Creation

I've done a Memory Book with each of my classes for the last few years. Each time it's been
a different format..I've been trying to find my groove, I guess :)
So, this summer, I took the plunge and designed my own lil' book. It includes each
month of the year, a faves page, title page, autograph page, photo booth page, my goals, and I heart page.

For every month I included a picture prompt because I found that my kids had difficulty
thinking of something to draw. I've also included a shorter line in the writing part so that kids will
remember a title at the top of their writing. I am pretty excited about how this turned out!
I bought 1 inch binder rings from Amazon for $5 for 50. I use the rings
to bind together the books as I've found that it's the easiest/most
effective way of binding them. I also like to add special artwork, reading
responses, journal entries to the memory books so they end up
getting pretty thick. I have the kids glue the month to one side of construction paper
and we put something that we did in class on the other side. Then, I laminate the pages.

All work is kept in a file folder until the end of the year. Click on either picture for this document!
Please leave a comment if you do happen to download it...and any suggestions or questions.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

B2S Treat Idea

Wellllll...maybe not a treat so much as a little gift for the kids...

Like everyone else, I have a tub of broken, dull crayons that seem
to grow each year. (you know; the ones that we pick up off the floor,
rescue from noses, stop from being eaten all year long). What to do with them??
This year, I've decided to try making these:

using the IKEA silicone ice cube heart trays I bought.
I have Googled and Pinterested (sp?) and, according to some very
adventurous bloggers, if I keep the heat at 220 or less, the trays WON'T
melt but the crayons will...worth a try!
So, here is my plan. I am going to make a multi-coloured crayon
for each child with a little colouring book. My "thing" is I {heart} t-shirts, of which I
have collected quite an assortment, so I made the cover of the
book in this theme. I plan on putting the book, crayon and magnet with
my information in a little bag for b2s in September.
Honestly, I've been doing little bags for the kids each year since 
I started teaching grade 2/3, but didn't think the kids really noticed.
Then, this June I had a parent approach me to tell me that her daughter 
(who I taught 4 years ago) still has the little gift I gave her at the
beginning of her grade 2! Wowza! So, I'll continue the tradition...

[this is the little colouring booklet I made] 

I should add that every year I do something different so that the kids
who I have taught already have something special and
the kids who have a sibling that I taught
have something brand new.

Do you have a B2S tradition that you do for your class? I'd love to 
hear about it if you do!

ps I will let you know how the crayons turn out!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Currently August

I am linking up with Farley for August's CURRENTLY linky party. 
This month, there are a few things that participants are asked to do...
which I think is a marvelous idea! 
I will be commenting on the two link-ups before mine and the one
after. Fun times! It's pretty exciting to realize that someone
will be commenting on my contribution, and I can't wait
to read/comment on others'.

Pretty self-explanatory but I'd like to highlight a couple of my points:

I have started watching lots of BBC tv series over the past few months.
Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Upstairs Downstairs, Luther
and now Call the Midwife. If you haven't watched it yet, I recommend 
trying it out. (**warning-it makes males squeamish). The series takes place in East London 
in the 1950s. Itfollows a group of midwives as they help deliver babies in one
of the poorest regions of London. It's funny, dramatic, heartwarming
and suspenseful. 

My husband bought me a Samsung Galaxy tablet and I am in love; 
especially with the Kindle app. Reading is my passion, and my 
favourite genre is mystery/suspense. Recently, I've discovered 
The Hangman's Daughter series and have been flying through
them ever since.

Back-2-school- eeeekkkk...
{click on the pictures to go to websites}

1. I have a Smartboard in my classroom. Our school was actually
one of the first to get them in our school board. I do love the EXPO
chalkboard markers, though. I use them on my one
remaining chalkboard. They are lovely, bright and colourful. Added bonus=
they last a loooooong time.

2. To the chagrin/horror of my teen daughters, I LOVE cords. They're comfy,
versatile and downright snazzy. This fall, I'd like to buy a few new pairs
(seems like my others are 2-3 years old). May have to hide
them in the bottom of my basket, though, if I go shopping with
the teens for b2s.

3. My third B2shool must have is Jen Ross' Spelling Throughout the Year unit for 
third grade. I am really excited about this unit and how much
time and creativity Jen has put into the pack. She has even included a blog
post about how she organizes the weekly work! Awesomesauce!

Whew!! Lots of typing. Thanks for sticking by to the end.
Don't forget to link up!

ps. If you have any favourite television dramas you'd like to recommend, please
let me know. I'm almost all out! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inspiring is an UNDERSTATEMENT!!

Today I "found" this truly amazing blog...

and I've been reading it all morning. If you haven't perused it yet,
I totally recommend that you do asap.
Yes, it is that awesomesauce.
I love so many things about my new obsession. For starters,
it is a conglomeration of a whole bunch of
fantastic bloggers who teach grades two and three. 
Next, each teacher blogger has included a bit about herself (no
himselves yet) and their life. Lastly, 
the freebies that are shared are inspiring, creative, and
exciting...Yes, exciting...I have drank three
coffees, kicked back and ENJOYED learning about each blogger on 
Owl-Ways Be Inspired.

Have you checked it out yet?


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday Made It...on Tuesday

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It...on Tuesday.
If I knew how, I'd add one of those
cute little embarrassed emoticons...

Is it still a freebie if I don't sell stuff? Anyway, here is a little pennant that I have made for 
back to school...I plan on 
having the kids each finish one and then I'll hang 
them/string them on our hallway bulletin board. I am
sincerely hoping that they are done in time for Meet the Teacher.
I've also been working on pennants/banners/bunting in a green, blue, purple
colour scheme to use as headings for my bulletin boards. The letters are on chevron
backgrounds and I've included polka dots for fillers.

I don't go back to school for 5 more incredibly lazy weeks. When do you head back?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Where Did July Go & Pennants...Buntings...

Ummmm...where did July go? It's been a hectic month, but wowzers it went by FAST. As I was watching Season 2 of Call the Midwife (great/fantastic/superb show), I made these pennants/buntings/flags for my classroom.
I plan on printing them on cardstock (Michael's has oodles of different patterns), laminating them and using them along the top of my bulletin boards.
I have made Math, Reading, Writing, Calendar and Numbers...I also made one of a larger size for my strength wall called Our Strengths.
I used the font October heat from First Grade News and the free clip art Five Little Owls from The 3am Teacher.

I am hoping that by adding a light colour behind the letters, when the pennants print the letters will stand out. Time will tell! Well, time and waiting for my cyan cartridge so I can try them out...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Class Store Changed My Life

Okay-a bit of an exaggeration but a catchy title.
My bff teaches grade 4/5. Since I can remember (even before she moved to junior) she has had "Class Store." Honestly, I thought that she was much work and chaos. However, this year I decided to follow her example and try it out with my second
Yes, it's a lot of work to set up. Yes, it is chaotic on Kelly-Mart day. Yes, some minor problems are going to occur. BUT the advantage of this activity far outweighs anything else.
I had mulled over doing store for quite some time so had compiled a bin (rubbermaid tote) of stuff to sell. This included everything from jelly bracelets to t-shirts (bought on clearance). After each holiday, I bought a couple clearance items. I also purchased the end of the year leftover kit from Scholastic...wowzers...for forty dollars you get A LOT of stuff.
We made duct tape wallets to keep the coins that were earned in.
As a class, we talked about what sorts of activities earned money. One rule, for example, was that a student couldn't do something kind and then ask for a quarter...that kind of thing. Mostly, money was earned for following class expectations (ie good listening at carpet time, looking after your cubby, participating, random acts of kindness). I was careful to make sure that by the end of each week everyone had earned something...sometimes this wasn't easy but I persevered :)
On Wednesdays, kids had a chance to count their earnings and "trade up." They had to be able to do this on their own. Some kids used hundreds charts, number lines, calculators, manipulatives to figure out how much money they had earned. It was very cool.
On Friday after lunch, Kelly-Mart opened for business. It was 20 minutes of happy chaos and the kids loved it.
I stored all store items in small baskets and then put the small baskets in a large, clear tote. This was then stored at school in our resource room...which I had asked permission to do ahead of time.
Class Store lasted for 6 weeks. I will be doing it again, however. It was a lot of work to set up but the results were worth it 110%.

I ran the cash register (took me back to my teens when I worked as a cashier) and kids had to have the exact money ready for me when they got to the till. I also asked kids what their change should be if they had some coming.

One of the hot ticket items at Kelly-Mart were the Incentive Coupons...**WARNING*** Lunch with the Teacher is very, very popular...

{click picture for freebie}

I downloaded this freebie from First Grade Fever, (awesomesauce blog btw) printed it out, put the printed pages into sheet protectors and VOILA an extremely popular/easy peasy prize is born.

I also like the way that There's No Place Like Second Grade has organized her coupons using a craft box. She also offers her incentives as a freebie... I may have to switch things up for next year...

{click picture for freebie}
As I've mentioned, I WILL be having Kelly-Mart again next school year. I am looping with my class so will be teaching grade 3 instead of 2, but Class Store is one of the things that both parents and students requested we do again. Time to get stocking up on incentives ;)

Does anyone else have a Class Store? How do you manage it?

Friday, July 05, 2013

Duct Tape Wallets/Coin Purses

This year I taught grade 2 with one (yup ONE) grade 3. In May, I decided to start "Class Store" in order to cover our unit on money and to keep the kids engaged. In grade 2, kids need to know money amounts to 1 dollar, as well as the coins and their value. I have never done CS before, and was a little nervous...however, it was AWESOMESAUCE!

Before we could start Kelly-Mart (lol) we had to have something to store the coins in that the kids earned. Enter...duct tape coin purses (which I called wallets). My plan was to have each student make their own, but this turned into ME making them as they were a little trickier than I anticipated.

My PINspiration came from SOPHIE'S WORLD. She has outlined every step in pictures and easy to follow instructions. It is a fantabulous tutorial. Click the picture to go to the link:

I made a template of the wallet, as instructed, and taped the duct tape to both sides. I was going to use hot glue to stick the folded sides together, but decided to use half strips of duct tape instead.

I used velcro dots (from Dollarama) to close the top part of the coin purse. Super easy.

At first, I was going to have the kids make their own...this was not wise. The tape was waaaaay too sticky and frustration ensued. Instead, kids chose their own colours from an assortment of tape that I bought from Amazon. I made 20 wallets and used a fraction of my 8 rolls of duct tape. Honestly, 3 rolls would have been lots.

The kids LOVED these coin purses. They loved Class Store, too, (more on that tomorrow) but the purses were a huge hit. At the end of the year, they took them home. One boy even brought his dad into our classroom at the end of the day to show him his wallet...super cute.

I will make these again. They didn't take me too long (a couple of hours, TOPS). Older kids could make them on their own no problemo. Maybe next year we'll make the wallets with our Social Skills/Reading/Math Buddies in grade 5...

I 100% recommend and endorse making these if you have Class Store or a craft that you need to complete with your class. Here is a (blurry and terrible) picture of two of my students holding their wallets during Kelly-Mart shopping time.

I "starred" the coin purses cuz I am cool like that!