Friday, August 31, 2012

Specialists Schedule Cards {Classroom 360}


This post is part of my 360 degree Classroom Tour Series



This packet includes 6 printable cards featuring Thistlegirl Design Clipart. They read:

  • physical education
  • art
  • music
  • computer lab
  • health
  • library
{Click here to access and print this packet}



This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 8.31.12 & was available from 2:45. - present {Eastern Standard Time}
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day.




Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FREE MOTIVATIONAL SIGNS {Classroom 360}


This post is part of my 360 degree Classroom Tour Series


One of my goals for this school year was to create a motivating learning environment that encouraged creativity. I had made the melted crayon art with my son over the summer and added the word “create” using wooden letters. I had used the paint cans with the “spilling paint” at his birthday party and repurposed them in the classroom as a bright accent to the bulletin board. I had some space above it along with some small easels I had purchased at Dollar Tree and decided they would be a perfect addition. I was going to use motivational quotes, but since they would be small and the space is higher than I would normally display things for the students I decided that single words would be a good option. 

I selected 6 words that I wanted to be a part of my classroom. It will be a good reminder for me to see them daily as well.
  • believe
  • dream
  • create
  • imagine
  • inquire
  • strive

I created a free printable packet in case you wanted to use them too. These would make a great mobile if you hung them back to back or accents for open spaces on shelves if framed.


I printed them onto white card stock, but have also included a blackline master in my free printable. You can use them to print or copy onto any color or scrapbook paper.


This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 8.30.12 & was available from 5:00 p.m. - FOREVER (will remain free)
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day.


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES {Teacher Tip #32}

Do you take pictures in the classroom?  I sometimes feel like the teacher paparazzi. 

They are so fantastic for writing prompts, bulletin boards and keepsakes for the families at the end of the year.

I ALWAYS take pics on the first day. Here's what I'm doing this year. 

Have you seen these frames? They are the latest Pinterest craze. 

And I now subscribe to the "If it's on Pinterest then it HAS to be cool and I NEED to be a part of it" philosophy.

So you can put money on the fact that my cute new third graders will be posing behind a pimped out piece of foamboard in their adorable new school clothes with all those stylish new hairdos one week from today.

And since I was going to print and make a frame anyhow, I decided to make it into a packet so other teachers can make the parents' of their students happy with this sweet keepsake.

It was easy to make and I thought it would be great to have to take me own kids' pictures as well.

Except it seems I forgot that my son is actually going to be a 2nd grader and made him participate in a photo shoot with a 1st grade sign. 

No worries because it wasn't actually his first day of school (also evidenced by the outfit as the 1st day of school is the one and only day I am allowed to dress him in plaid shorts and a collared polo anymore...after that it is Abercrombie Tees and 'Comfy Pants' because it appears that at the ripe old age of 7 boyfriend has an opinion)...oops...I'm off topic.

Anyhow, here is how I made the frame (in under 20 minutes btw)


Now I realize that for a huge percentage of you, First Day of School 2012 is filed under, "Been There. Done That." So I made sure to include little crayon boxes dated 2012 through 2016 so you can file this away for next year.  

OR...

You could do it now because I also included graphics that read "I love School" which could be used in place of "The First Day of School."


I plan to take a picture of each student on the first day of school and will display them with my Back-to-School Writing Packet Projects for a cute and easy bulletin board.
{click here to access and print this packet}
The packet includes:

First Day of School Printables
I Love School Printables
Pencils for Grades Preschool - Sixth
Years for 2012 - 2016
Photo Instructions
Additional Clipart



This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 8.2912 & was available from 11:30a.m.-6:30 a.m. on 8.31.12 
{Eastern Standard Time}
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day.


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How I Manage Reader's Workshop


I am so excited to share my READer's Workshop Rotation Board with you. My Math Workshop Rotation Board is my #2 selling product {and has a 4.0 rating with close to 500 votes}. I found it to be so successful in my classroom, that I created a similar format for structuring my reading block.



I divide my class into 4 groups and they rotate throughout the workshop. Like my MATH board, I created this to follow the word READ as an acronym.

R: Reader Response
E: Enjoy a Book
A: At your Seat
D: Discuss the Text

This format allows my to fully integrate our reading curriculum with guided reading, 1:1 conferences, self-selected reading and activities and projects. I love knowing that I can differentiate based on ability and meet the individual needs of my learners while providing them all with worthwhile activities throughout the entire reading block.

(I use Treasures, but any program could be used with this system...or you could use it to do your own thing as well)

Included in the printable packet are the rotation cards, title, group numbers and pocket job titles. Each card/image can be customized to any color you want by printing onto colored paper to meet your needs.


{Click here to access and download My READer's Workshop Rotation Board Packet}



Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

AVOID THE CHAOS OF COLLECTING SCHOOL SUPPLIES {Teacher Tio #31}

Despite having a slightly unhealthy love affair with shiny new school supplies (just typing those words makes me float off to a happy daydream involving pointy crayons that reek of Crayola newness and unsharpened pencils with perfect little erasers), I despise the chaos that they can evoke on the first day of school.

If you have been teaching awhile you know what I mean.

If you are new to the classroom this year, you will thank me for sparing you the headache.

Here’s how it plays out: A classroom of kids enters wearing their spiffy new duds, modeling their stylish new haircut and sporting their brand-spanking new backpack full of the bounty you enlisted them to acquire via your annual “supply letter.”

They are excited and they can’t wait to force upon you said backpack. Those who elected not to adhere to the list that specifically said 24 yellow, #2 pencils are especially excited to show off their collection of Mario Kart pencils with (gasp) scented erasers.

Yeah, I get it. I’m not so far removed from my own shiny new Trapper Keeper excitement days to have forgotten the glee it brings. But, as ring master of this circus it is important to have a plan.

A good plan. 

A really good plan.

The first day sets the tone and it is doubtful that you want that tone to be “crazed lunatic who breaks down on day one when the Rosearts, Sharpies and glue sticks start coming out. So I have a few options for you.

I’ll start with the best one. Because it is the most efficient and organized way I know.

Start by schmoozing with the teenage bagger at your local grocery store. If you can’t butter him up then just go straight to the head Honcho and play the teacher card with the store manager. However you go about it, you need to get a large paper grocery sack for each child in your class. If you aren’t in the business of begging for free goodies then just answer “paper” to the “paper or plastic” question on your next trip (and ask neighbors to do the same) and you should be all set when school starts.

You can simply write the childrens' names in big, bold letters on the front of the bags or you can use the snazzy printables I made and then place them at their seats.
If you are using my printables, make a copy of your supply list on the other side of each and staple it to the bag. 

When the students arrive, instruct them to put all of their supplies into the bag and place the filled bag in a designated spot (a teacher table, counter or along a wall works well).

Forget about the bags and go about your first day plans. Then after the kiddos are on their way home (or if you are lucky enough to have an aide or a student teacher he/she can do this), sort through the supplies. Use the checklist on the bag to make sure that everything is accounted for.

If you are going to use community supplies then put them where you want them.

If you are going to have them be responsible for their own supplies make sure they are labeled with each child's name or number.

I suggest recruiting a parent volunteer or a former student to help with this task.
I also print out a list of the supplies w/ each child's # and check off each item as I organize. I do this to make sure everyone has all of the necessary supplies and so that if a family sends in one of the "requested donations" items I can write a thank you note. If supplies are missing you may want to send home a reminder note or else supplement the materials to be sure each student has everything they need.


{click to access and print my Organizing Students' Supplies Packet}

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of:

This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 8.2312 & was available from 4:30-present {Eastern Standard Time}
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day.





Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PLAN A FUN GET TO KNOW YOU ACTIVITY {Teacher Tip #30}

This is subtitled, "The Post That Almost Wasn't."

I literally started this at 6:00 a.m. and many distractions and technical difficulties later we "may" be good to go.

The first week of school is about establishing procedures and routines, outlining your expectations, and building a community. It's a time to get to know the little people who will become your extended family for the next ten months.

I had recently suggested sending home parent surveys to get the families' to share their insight with you, but it's also important to learn about the kids from the kids. This is a project I do each year as a "get to know you" activity.
{click here to access and print this product}

I send it home as homework on the first night. They need to decorate the bag and put one object into it that represent them. I suggest things like a batting glove if they play baseball, a paint brush if they enjoy crafts, etc. The next day we sit in a circle with our bags, remove the object and talk about why it was selected.

This is important because it not only tells the class a bit about each other, but it jump starts the brainstorming process for writing. After we share (I bring in an object too), I pass out a graphic organizer to plan a descriptive writing piece.  I model how to fill it in using my object and they do the same. Next, they use their webs to compose their paragraph. This is a VERY guided writing activity, but really gives me some immediate insight into their ability levels without throwing an assessment at them from the start.

There is a space to the left of the writing area. I've used that in two different ways. Some years I let them illustrate their object. Other years I have snapped pictures of them holding their object and attach those. I like the latter because I'm always amazed to see how they grow at the end of the year.

This year I plan to combine those two. I am going to take a photo of each child holding out his hand with his palm up. I will then have them illustrate their object on white copy paper and cut it out. After I get the pictures printed and attached I will add the illustrated objects to their hands (sort of like those pics they take in Disney and superimpose Tinkerbelle into your palm).

These make a great (read easy) bulletin board that you can hang up immediately. I then take the individual writing pages and slide them into sheet protectors and make a class book. At the end of the year they will go home with their owner as part of a writing portfolio.

I decided I needed to spruce up my usual note home and writing paper. While doing so I created an entire packet complete with differentiated writing pages for grades K-5 or to use with the varied ability levels in any classroom in that range. The packet also includes various graphic organizers and the note home. I staple that right onto a bag. All of the pages are color, but I printed them in greyscale and copied them that way and they look great if you want to save on ink.



For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of:

This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 8.2212 & was available from 6:10 p.m.- 11:30 {Eastern Standard Time}
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GRAB SOME FREE STORAGE CONTAINERS {Teacher Tip #29}

I do love Target at any time of year, but the back to school section has a special place in my heart.

While I glare at it with bitter eyes in early July because it is way too soon to be thinking about going back, my excitement increases as the summer progresses.

In addition to those perfectly pointy Crayolas and gorgeous speckled composition books there lies hidden treasures.

Boxes!

Not just any boxes...sturdy, colorful boxes that are designed to house notebooks and other related supplies.

They are also perfect for organizing your classroom (especially the shelves).

And they are FREE!

I simply condense the straggling folders and notebooks into one box and ask really sweetly for the (now) empty ones.

Put a label over the writing and you have some awesome new storage tools.

Today's freebie is a treat for my middle school and high school friends (I didn't realize there were so many of you reading along until y'all started posting on my Facebook Fan Page). So for them...by request...I've created "period labels" for student work boxes.

Since I'm so out of touch with high school (unless watching Glee counts), I made periods 1-8. I have no idea if it is too many or too few. Let me know. :)  I added the printables to my original packet for student work baskets/bins.

If you didn't have a chance to grab them then you can snag them now. Here's the original post.

Monday, August 20, 2012

PERSONALIZED WRITER'S NOTEBOOKS {Teacher Tip #28}



I start each school year by reading Judy Moody to the class as our first read aloud. It's a fun book for all grade levels, but is PERFECT for 3rd graders. 

Because the book starts off on Judy's first day of 3rd grade. Hello text-to-self connection!

I created a whole bunch of activities that go with the book and I use them throughout the first week of school in addition to teaching my procedures and routines and completing some of the back to school printable activities I created.


In the book Judy needs to create an All About Me collage as her first assignment. I springboard off of this and we make a collage on the Friday of the first week.

Except instead of making it on poster board, we make them on the cover of black and white composition notebooks. They bring in pictures, ticket stubs, articles, brochures, magazine clippings, etc. that tell about them.

And then we Modge Podge the heck out of them to seal them. They look great and last all year long.

I always do this on the first Friday afternoon for a few reasons.


  • It's fun...so it introduces "Fun Friday" (the time each week where I sneak in a little craftivity).
  • We work on brainstorming ideas for their Writer's Idea banks throughout the first week and this way we are ready to hit the ground running on the first full Monday.
  • All that Modge Podge stinks...so it's nice to have  a few days of "air time."


Even if you don't read Judy Moody to your class, I would encourage you to have the kids make personalized journals. They really help them to take ownership of their writing and they make such wonderful keepsakes at the end of the year.


This FREE printable contains the letter I use to request families send in the needed items.  However, since you may not be reading the book, I have also included a more generic version of the letter. Enjoy!


For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of:

This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 8.2012 & was available from 9:02 p.m.- present time {Eastern Standard Time}
Be sure to follow my blog and store so you never miss the Freebie of the Day.


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.