Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Year Resolution FREEBIE

It is hard to believe that 2015 is coming to an end and 2016 is just around the corner. Most of us are just fully  emerged in winter break and can barely think about anything except making sure our alarm clocks are turned off! 

However, some of us are planners! Me.. Me...Me!!! In preparation for the New Year, I created and prepped these resolution crafts for my kiddos to complete the first week we are back from break.


All the templates are included to create a boy or girl New Year's Resolution booklet.


All you have to do is copy the templates on white paper. Next, choose if you want your students to write a personal resolution or a school resolution. I am going to make an anchor chart  and have a discussion with my class, so they have ideas about what resolutions are and what they mean. Finally, cut and staple the pages together to make your booklets.


You can grab this activity with all the templates for your class too! Just click on the picture below and grab your FREE copy! 
Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Giveaway & Blog Hop

Hello everyone!!!

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Today we are throwing  a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:

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The website I use and love the most in my classroom is IXL for Math!!! Hands down my kids LOVE this site. Let me tell you why:
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1. My students get instant feedback. It has been proven that immediate feedback is the most meaningful information to improve a student's learning. There is no need to wait for me to grade their papers. Students find out what they are doing right or wrong instantly. If they get a problem wrong, IXL shows the correct way to solve the problem, so they don't practice the skill incorrectly over and over.

2. I love it because, as the teacher, I can instantly monitor my students progress. I can assign specific skills and standards I want them to work on, watch their progress live, and adjust as needed. This is differentiation for my students at its finest. Can't get much better than that! My students test scores in math have sky rocketed and become more consistent. 


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People who know me, know that I am an organizational freak at school. Binder Queen is my nickname.
My favorite projects and ideas are organized by seasonal quarters. I put all the masters, pictures, and examples of projects in plastic sleeves, so I can flip through when I am planning and easily take out what I need to copy.

My literacy centers, writing projects, math units etc are also organized the same way. It saves me time during the planning process and I can easily move ideas around to different times of the year if I need to.


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My most favorite teaching item in my classroom is my personal laminator!
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I don't know about you guys, but our school laminator is never working when I need something laminated. It is either out of film or broken and never being fixed. I love having the ability to have high quality laminating film at my figure tips. It makes everything last long and protects it like nobody's business. I could not live without it!!!! My Scotch lamintor is the best one I have ever used (and I have been through a few). If you don't have one, run, don't walk to pick one up. It is a game changer!

Once again, we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!

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Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!

Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!


Link to link up http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=585883

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday Classroom Traditions


I am excited to be joining some of my blogging friends to share everything HOLIDAYS with you!
December is in full swing and I have been packing in the holiday projects like nobody's business this week. First up....


 1. Reindeer Portraits

I LOVE making these directed drawings with my students each year! Every single one of them is a success! They add a TON of festive cheer to our room and the kids are proud of themselves.
I HATE, let me repeat....I HATE paint, painting or anything that has to do with paint and kids in my classroom. HOWEVER, for some unknown reason, I love when the kids paint these reindeer. I pull them up in groups of 5. They have their own little station with watercolors. water, and their picture. We go over the painting rules together and for the most part the kids ROCK it!
You can find the step by step directions for this project at Artventurous: Reindeer Portraits.

  2. Snowman Ornaments
 I am always looking for memorable gifts my students can give to their families for the holidays. These adorable salt and flour snowman ornament were loved by all my families. I had my mom come in and help the students form the noses and round faces. She took the snowman home and baked them to dry them quicker. The next day, the kids painted them. We let them dry and we added ribbon.

3. Christmas Tree Math
This math craft is always a favorite of mine and a big hit with the kids. It is from Amy Lemon's blog. I created different ornaments to go with the math skill of regrouping, so my kids could get extra practice. But really you could use the idea in so many different way to work in your classroom.

What are some of your favorite traditions? I would love to hear your ideas! Link up with us and leave a comment below. I can't wait to read all about them.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Gift Ideas!

Gift giving is something I truly enjoy. I LOVE the challenge of finding the perfect gift for someone I care about. The thing I HATE, is the pressure of finding 900 perfect gifts for everyone I care about in a one month period. It stresses me out! 

To help everyone's stress levels go down this holiday season, I thought I would share some of my gift giving ideas. Some I have already used and a few are on my list for this year!

Family Gift Ideas:
I am always looking for memorable gifts my students can give to their families for the holidays. These adorable salt and flour snowman ornament were loved by all my families. I had a school volunteer come in and help the students form the noses and round faces. I took the snowman home and baked them to dry them quicker. The next day, the kids painted them and we added ribbon.

Paint Stick Snowman Ornaments:
All you need are paint sticks, google eyes, scraps of material, black and orange paint, raffia, and ribbon.


Student Gift Ideas:


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And of course, use your bonus points to get a Scholastic Book for each student.

Co-Worker Gift Ideas:


Teacher Gift Ideas:
Let's face it, gift cards rock! Who doesn't like to get a gift card? It's a win-win situation for all. I'm all for gift cards...especially from students.
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However, sometimes a personalized gift for your child's teachers is simply awesome. Last year, I ordered these wooden pencil signs for my own children's teachers and my student teacher. They were a hit! I just placed my order for this year too!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gobblin' Up Main Ideas and Details

 Today, I am sharing a fun and festive way to review main idea and details in your classroom.

 I am always teaching and reteaching main idea and details to my kiddos throughout the year. Seems like they can never get enough practice with this skill. Any way I can change it up and make it seem like a fun thing to learn, then I am "all over it!" Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I decided to merge turkeys and main idea together for this review lesson. 
The kids worked in partners with a short passage. Some were informational text. Some were fictional text. On their white boards, they wrote what they thought the main idea and details from the story were. Next, they shared their ideas out to the other partners at their table. Finally, they made their turkeys.

The kids wrote the main idea on the body of the turkey. Then, they chose 4 important details to write on each of the feathers and assembled their turkeys. I displayed them with the common core standards for my grade level .

If you would like a festive way to review main idea and details with your kiddos, you can grab this activity for FREE by clicking on  the link below.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Parent Conference Tips & Tricks

I survived! Yes, I did! I just finished two weeks of parent/teacher conferences! Yes, you read that correctly...two weeks. BUT... let me tell you why AND why I have now come to look forward to conference time.


I used to dread parent/conferences. Not only did I have to complete all my students' report cards (which as we all know, takes HOURS/DAYS), but then I had to sit with each family and reread the report card to them. HATED IT! Something needed to change.

My school decided to meet with parents BEFORE report cards come out, so there are NO SURPRISES! I schedule my conferences over a two week period. Each conference is 15 minutes long. YEP...15 minutes! It is possible to get it all in, make it personalized, and inform the parents how to help their kids moving forward.

I choose to schedule them over two weeks, so I don't have to have 10 conferences in one day and feel rushed. Only having 2-3 conferences a day is manageable for me and I am not so overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, some days there are more, some days there are no conferences at all, but it is spread out, which helps. 

In order to streamline my conferences, I created a binder tailor made for it! Everything I need is right at my fingertips. No more searching, last minute note creating...waste of time conference 
preparations. 


This form, RIGHT HERE, is the best thing that happened to my parent/teacher conferences. It is a simple checklist with room for short comments or notes. It takes about 5 minutes to complete and says a whole lot about what is going on in and out of classroom with each student. I make a copy for each parent, so they can take notes. I also keep a copy for myself. This is what we go over at our conference.


I use these forms to inform parents when their conference is scheduled. I also try to send home a reminder note the day before the conference to cut down on any missed appointments.  I keep all my masters and copies in my conference binder in plastic sleeves. Again, easy access...all at my fingertips.


 I also document each conference with a sign in sheet. I keep a copy for myself and I turn in one to my administration. 


If a parent signs up for a conference and doesn't show up, I send home this note with their child. I don't use this form often, but I like having it ready to go if necessary.


Grab your editable conference binder pages HERE:



Get your conferences started off in the right direction with this sign up form. Click on the picture below to grab your FREE copy. 


Now that you have everything organized and in one place, I hope you will feel confident and ready to tackle those parent conferences head on! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Candy Corn FREEBIE!

Super quick post tonight. I wanted to share a fun little freebie with all of you.
We are finishing up our review of singular and plural nouns this week. I wanted a quick assessment I could use to also display in our classroom. A few minutes later these little guys were born! HA!

Each student chose a noun. The noun could be regular or irregular. Then, they wrote the plural of that same noun. 

Finally, they used the plural noun in a sentence. Some students chose to write two sentences using the singular and plural form. When they were done, they cut it out and we put them up in our classroom!
Grab a copy of this freebie activity by clicking HERE! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Scarecrows and Pumpkins: Time for Fall

I am SO excited that October is finally here! It is my favorite season! The weather is still very warm here, but sweaters, boots, and scarves are on the horizon, my friends! As soon as it is humanly possible, I bring Fall into my classroom.


 Last week, I introduced acrostic poetry to my students. I started off by reading one of my favorite fall stories:
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This got my kiddos hooked! Then I introduced how to use a thesaurus. The kids worked in pairs to come up with words that described a scarecrow. Next, we made a chart of all the words and phrases that described a scarecrow using the letters in the word. 

After we wrote our poems, it was time to build our scarecrows!



The kids took so much pride and ownership into following the directions and building the perfect scarecrow. Too darn cute! I don't have a lot of bulletin board space, so here are their scarecrow masterpieces hanging from the ceiling. You can find all the scarecrow templates and writing ideas in my Scarecrow Craftivity and Writing Prompts pack.


I also did my first directed drawing lesson of the year with my kiddos. I was looking on Pinterest and found this little gem. When I went to the website, it did not take me to the actual lesson. I hunted around, but I used the pinned picture for directions instead because I needed to make a sample before the kids came into the classroom and time was running out! 
Step 1: We used pencils to sketch the drawing step-by-step. This allowed for mistakes to be erased, since this was their first drawing of the year. Then, we used black felt tip markers to trace over our lines.

Step 2: I showed the kids how to shade using different colors of yellow and orange.


Step 3: Color the background sections using solid colors or with patterns. We used crayons this time. Oil pastels and water colors would also be great to use.


I mounted them on black paper so they would POP! Viola! I think they turned out marvelous!




I love these lessons because it forces my students to listen and follow directions. It helps them with their fine motor skills and introduces them to different types of art and art mediums. They are so proud of themselves when they are done. This will be the first piece that goes into their art portfolio for the year!