Monday, August 4, 2014

Spray Paint FUN!

I can't believe school is just around the corner!  We start back with kiddos Aug. 26th and I have been having nightmares dreaming about my classroom set up and my new bunch of kidlets for weeks! 

I was inspired by Maria's color palette of spray paints so when I found these wooden frames I knew those colors would be perfect!  So I'm linking up to show you what I've made so far!

I started with these unfinished wood frames that I found at Michael's for dirt cheap.  I purchased multiple styles so I could really play with them while decorating.

After a light coat of primer I slowly painted each one with probably 3-4 coats each.  I didn't want the paint too thick but I wanted the colors to look really bold.  

And I think they came out perfectly!!

I may have gotten a little spray paint happy buuuut I really wanted to spice up some clothespins with out having to cut out decorative scrap paper and modge podging them so I came up with this idea!

I found a box that we had just received from Amazon (yes, I'm addicted to Amazon) and clipped the clothespins all around each flap.  I read somewhere to clip the pins to something so you can flip them back and forth to get each side.... and this idea worked perfectly for that.  I could flip them and let them dry without setting them down or holding them up the whole time. 
 I started with one color flipped the flap inward and painted the outside and flipped it out to do the same until each side was painted.  Then I just let them sit in the garage until they were dry.  So easy and it didn't require ANY cutting or modge podge!  Now when I hang student work their clips will POP! 

If you're thinking about doing it, I say go for it!! You will not be disappointed! 

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapters 3 & 4

I think Chapter 3 is the heart of the book (so far).  It definitely talks a lot more about the 10 Steps of Independence.  The Sisters explained this theory in the first book but this time they dedicate the entire chapter to it.  It is the heart of what Daily 5 is all about, it's what makes it work!  So here it is broken down...

Step 1: Identify What is Being Taught-  Get your students thinking about what they will be learning about.  

Step 2: Set a Purpose & Create a  Sense of Urgency- It answers two questions: Why are we learning this and why is this important? Don't you ask yourself the same questions when in a training?

Step 3: Record Desired Behaviors on an I Chart- I LOVE using these I can charts, we refer back to them often during the year.  The difference now is how you should just announce the behavior, list it and explain it as opposed to allowing the students to come up with the behavior.  It makes your lesson much shorter and to the point! Can I get an amen? 

Setep 4: Model Most Desired Behaviors- This is crucial in the first few days of introducing stamina and practicing.  It allows you to give your students the well deserved praise by having them demonstrate in front of the others.  I love praising them and giving them an extra fuzzy and discussing how that behavior will make him/her a better reader, writer, etc.  

Step 5: Model Least Desired Behaviors- This step is also pretty crucial.  Allowing students to demonstrate "what not to do" is such a real vision of what they should look like.  Calling up the friend that is usually off task gives the opportunity to get some attention and for everyone to have a little giggle at the student with the book on thier head.  And we always follow up with, "Boys and girls if _____ continues doing this will he/she become a better reader?"

Step 6: Place Students Around the Room- I like this step for the beginning of the year, when all my students think the bean bags are the best choice, that's not always the case.  This step allows you to have control (in the beginning) and placing them around the room.  First by calling them up to get their book box and second telling them, "try this spot and think to yourself, "is this a place where I and others can be successful?"

By the third week of school I had a student that LOVED sitting/laying under this table, it was comfortbale she enjoyed the privacy and she was making herself a better reader!

This is my book box area, the students quickly learn where their book box goes and to keep them nice and neat.  And I just LOVE the numbers from Teri, they work for EVERYTHING! I don't have to re-label my stuff each year with their name. :)

The top shelf are their fuzzy cups.

Step 7: Practice and Build Stamina- I love using the stamina chart to have a clear visual of where we should be.  The sisters are very clear that each year and each class looks different while building stamina.  Sometimes you will have a class that sores and can build quickly or you can have the opposite and have the class that just needs to move slow and really see what stamina is all about. 

Step 8: Stay Out of the Way- This step takes place simultaneously as step 7.  It is important for us to stay OUT OF THE WAY!  The inner teacher in us wants to walk the room and give praise or gently remind but that is simply not what they should expect from us the entire year.  We are training them to gain stamina so we can work one on one or with a small group so they should expect to find us at our guided reading table.  So stay!
Sidenote: at the end of the year (this year) I was done working with small groups and while my students were at D5, I was checking emails (at my desk) a parent asked me to remind their child something (important) so I called that childs name and their head immediately whipped around the guided reading table, epecting to find me there.  It was a small reminder to me that they need to know where we are just as much as we need to know where they are at all times.  

Step 9: Use a Quiet Signal to Bring Students Back to the Gathering Space- When I taught kindergarten I used this low, choo choo whistle to signal the kids back.  This past year with second grade I just used a calm voice to bring them back and that worked.  This coming year I'm excited to try something new, maybe this light timer would be a good visual!

Step 10: Conduct a Group Check In; Ask "How Did It Go"- This is when you go back to the I Chart and ask your students how it went and really allow them to reflect on ther time.

This chapter is mainly about the necessary tools you need to be successful, including book boxes, a comfortable gathering/work place and a chime or signal to gather the students.  

I love my "reading rug" that I bought a few years ago for my class.  It has a place for every child and they are in their own space!  I definitely recommend getting a rug like this!

It also talks about the importance of having a large library.  I have accumulated a lot of my books from donations (from students) scholastic points, garage sales and re sale shops!  It's very easy to do if you know where to search!  Here's a peek at my reading corner.  Student book boxes one one side and books on the other side, organized by genre and author.

I also have a second set of leveled books behind my reading table for easy shopping after a reading group.

I love the idea of "chime" to gather your students, I think I'll try it this year.  What do you use?

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Daily 5 Book Study: Second Edition

I have to start with this statement.... any teacher I've ever met that has tried the Daily 5 has stuck with it and completely LOVED it!  On the other hand, almost every teacher I know does it "in her own way" we have all adapted our own version of the D5 to fit our classroom, students, school, etc.  I do believe the structure the Sisters have created, I think it is genius. It's simple, it works and it truly involves my students.  Even I have adapted it to fit the needs of my classroom and haven't done the "exact" thing the Sisters preached.  When I taugh kindergarten I didn't allow choice (which is the main idea of having Daily 5) and this past year in second grade I let go of my control and allowed them to choose and I feel that it really helped my students open up to love literacy!  

If you're not familiar with D5 you can order the book here, it is an easy read and it is well worth a shot!   This book study is all about the Sisters second edition, which is an updated version of their technique.  You can click here to get your copy.   You can also follow my Pinterest board, Daily 5 Fun! to get some ideas or get you started. 

I loooooove the title of this chapter because it just shows you that these Sisters are teachers; they work in the classroom, they see first hand what works for students and they are sharing their findings.  My favorite thing that they talk about is the fact that they don't do all 5 rounds in one day.  Praise Jesus! I'm not on my own... that seemed impossible!  My first year I tried doing 3 rounds and I was really pushing it to squeeze them all in, after that I decided that 1-2 rounds is a successful day.  I didn't want to rush my reading group and I really didn't like rushing through my check in time (which I allowed for sharing if they chose work on writing in addition to my mini lesson.) I will definitely be re thinking my Daily 5 literacy block for this upcoming year in first grade.  

Chapter 2 really went into detail about the core beliefs of building a sense of community in your classroom with trust  and respect.  I also loved that they explained how important choice is!  To those non believers... I was one of you, I couldn't give up control. But when you model model model and teach those procedures your kiddos will shock you with their choice!  Trust the Sisters!  Another thing I loved was the importance of Brain Breaks.  Ever since Go Noodle, brain breaks have definitely become a go-to for my kiddos.  They love it and I love it! 

I really hope you give this book (or Daily 5) a chance, it has TRULY changed my literacy block for the better! And I know it could do the same for you! 

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BIG Update & A Freebie!

Only _____ more days of school! 
Yup, we're at that point of the year that we are counting down the days.  We are done.  The kids are done.  Everyone is just. done. 

I know this time of year is so hard but we need to stay MOTIVATED!!  Keeping the kids engaged is the ONLY way to ward off discipline problems and other pesky worries.

So I have updated one of my most downloaded products! 

Here is what's included:

*Write the Room Ocean Words
12 words total with picture cues to help

*Ocean Words Abc Order
8 words to put in alphabetical order and an option to write a sentence with two words and illustrate.

*Dictionary Word Find
Give students practice finding words that begin with certain letters using a dictionary. (Dictionary not included)

*Under the Sea Making Words
11 words offered to cut out and scramble to find words

*Ocean facts Sentence Scramble 
A fun, easy way to asses if students are using capital letters and punctuation in their writing. 

*Ocean Animal Graph
A simple graphing activity for finding their favorite animals in the class.

*Fact Family Match Up
Students will enjoy sorting cards to match them with the corresponding fact family.

*Grab Tally Graph
A coin sorting activity.

*Match the Time
Practicing time to the hour

*2 Digit Number Cover Up
A fun find and color page- Can be used in many ways!

So if you've already purchased this product just click the link and re download. And if you're still not sure, just download this little freebie from the unit!
It's a great graphing activity that the kids will love!

Click here to pick up your free copy!

Happy teaching friends!  We can do it!!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TPT Sale!

Have you heard the fabulous news?! TPT is having a BIG Sale!  

Head over and empy your wish list!  I know mine is multiple pages long!

While you're there, check out my Summertime Fun! Math Stations!  It's a great (easy) way to wrap up the school year and keep your kiddos engaged!  

Or you can get ready for Back to School and knock out some ABC practice pages.

Or just click here to see all of my products in my shop!  

Happy shopping!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Five for Friday & Currently

Wow, what a busy week!  May is in full swing here, with moving homes, getting ready for summer AND moving to first grade next year, my brain is complete MUSH!!  But I'll try my best to fill you in on the craziness of my week!  Buckle up!!

First of all this week has been very intense for my husband and I purchasing our second home and we are beyond thrilled to be moving in tonight!  Actually, movers are there right now, as we speak so when I get home all I have to do is unpack, can I get an amen!

To see more "before" pics of the new home check out my family blog here.  

We had our class field trip to the Zoo yesterday and it was AWESOME!  We took over Fort Worth and had a blast.  

Our math stations have been going strong.  Trying to keep second graders engaged through the end of the year is a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!  We've been using some great products from Kristin Smith and Amy Lemons those women are fabulous!!!

If you need some Summertime Math for Kinder or First check out this little old pack.  It has skills such as addition, subtraction, number recognition, money counting, time recognition and number words.  And It'll be on sale til Sunday!

With all the craziness of packing and moving this week, our household has been a little nutty.  I asked Zach to 'keep an eye on Maddox' and two minutes later I had an Elf on the shelf.  


And my currently!

Ya'll I'm seriously loving this song. Check it out!

If you haven't check out Elyse's blog, get over there now, she is awesome!

So go link up with Doodle Bugs and Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

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