Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Amazing Sharpener!

Where does time go? Ack! It's been so long since I blogged and I have so much to blog about...
First and foremost, I have had the privilege of using this incredible Classroom Friendly Supplies sharpener in my classroom:

The kids use it daily and they love it. I also have an electric sharpener, but this little beauty gets used more, does a better job, and is preferred by everyone. (no exaggeration..I even have eighth graders coming down to my grade 3 classroom to use the "fancy" sharpener).

I completely and totally recommend it and will be purchasing a second one for my class. Good-bye electric sharpener!

When I asked the kids to review our user-friendly gadget this is what they said:

"It does a way better job than the other one, Mrs. Kelly"~ Beth

"My mom needs one of these!She's always yelling at her pencils because they break all the time." ~ Abbi

"Wow! My pencil is so sharp. I didn't know that pencils could be so pointy." ~ Logan

"The old sharpener was so noisy it gave me a headache. You can't even hear this one." ~ Michaela

At just $24.99 these sharpeners offer a lot of bang for your buck. Compared to my $60 Xacto electric sharpener this won wins hands down! The icing on my sharpener cake? I always have a bin of sharp pencils since it has become a much coveted classroom job...

Click the picture above to go to a link so that you, too, can purchase this fantastic sharpener!

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!