Saturday, July 25, 2015

Money Saving Tips & Tricks for Teachers

I am linking up with the Weekend Warriors ladies for this month's hot topic: Money Saving Tips & Tricks for Teachers. As teachers, we spend WAY too much of our own money in our classrooms. And now that Back To School is JUST around the corner, the spending frenzy is about to go into full effect. I am going to share a few tips and tricks I have found to be useful for me in my classroom. 
DIY Library Sticks
Make classroom library sticks for each student with paint sticks from your local DIY store.

Materials needed:
-Wooden paint sticks (free at most home improvement stores)
-Spray paint of your color choice
-Decorative duck tape 
-Empty oatmeal container
-ribbon
-numbered circles

My dad drilled holes at one end of each paint stick for me. They I spray painted the sticks on both sides and sealed them with acrylic paint to give them some shine. While they were drying, I used the duck tape to decorate the empty oatmeal container. I also created and laminated the numbered circles (which can be found in my TPT store).  Then I hole punched each one at the top and tied it with ribbon to each stick. Ta-dah.....classroom library sticks to help my students stay organized!

Bulk Up & Team Up
Whenever I need supplies for my classroom, I team up with 1 or 2 other teachers who may need the same items and split the cost. When you buy in bulk the price per unit goes down. So, you spend less money up front and you benefit from the lower prices.
Image result for school supplies in bulk for teachers

Easy Reading Space
Create a quiet reading space by having your kids flip their chairs over and give them a pillow for a little comfort! I saw this idea on Buzzfeed and I NEED to give it a try this year. I think the kids will love it!
During quiet reading time, just have the kids flip their chairs around and give them pillows to lounge on.

Do you have some tips and tricks to share, as well? We would LOVE for you to link-up too! Just grab the slides, write your own blog post, and link up below! Let's all save together!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Last Day: Christmas in July Sale!

Hey, everyone! I am popping in real quick to let you know what is brewing for the last day of my Christmas in July Sale!


In case you are just stopping by, here is a recap of what I have been up to this week:

I LOVE teaching about maps and geography to my kiddos! I made this unit because I couldn't find a rigorous, hand-on unit that was FUN and easy to prep! I created two versions, so my Canadian teacher friends can use it too!

                

It includes vocabulary posters with visuals and definitions.

Quick assessments

There are task cards, I Have..Who Has... cards to help get the kids up and moving all while reviewing important skills you have taught them and MUCH MORE!

If you teach older students you might like my Fifty Nifty States packet. You can read about how I used this resource {HERE}.


This resource is available for Canadian teachers too!

Today all my social studies units are on sale! Thanks for joining me this week! Hope you had as much fun as I did!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sight Word Packs + FREEBIE!

Every school year I have a group of students who know their sight words like the back of their hands. But the majority of my students struggle with them. Maybe they can read some of them, but they can't always spell them. Some are even still trying to sound them out, which we know is not possible for many reasons. They have to know them by sight, with automaticity, in order to become strong readers. 

I like to start my school year, reviewing sight words the students should know from first grade. This is a quick assessment for me. It is just one tool I use to help me gauge where my students' skill levels are when they come to me. 

Learning and reviewing sight words can be so dull and boring. I want my students engaged! I have created several ways of doing this. One way is to focus on a small number of words at a time. Four or five words seems to be the magic number for most of my kiddos. 

This activity helps the students recognize sight words in different fonts, sizes and shapes. Once they identify the words, the students graph how many times they saw each word. 
I also like my students to see the sight words in text. I created fluency and cloze reading passages for this reason. Students need to see the words in context, not just in isolation in order to remember, retain, and use the words correctly. 

Each pack is grade level specific according to the Dolch sight word lists for first and second grade and includes the following activities with answer keys:
1. Graphing
2. Word Shapes
3. Fluency Passages
4. Cloze Reading Passages
5. Flash Cards with and without word boxes



Here is any example of some of the pages included in each packet. 


I want you LOVE this packet as much as I do! That is why I am sharing this {FREEBIE} with you. Download these BONUS pages and get a sneak peak for yourself. I would love your feedback too. Tell me what you think!




In case you are just joining me, here is a quick look at what is planned this week. Make sure to come back tomorrow for the last day of Christmas in July!

 Thank you for stopping by today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Christmas in July Day 2: Kid-Friendly Standards Posters

Even though the sun is out, the temps are warm, and the ice cream is melting, it is still fun to throw a Christmas in July sale!


In case you missed yesterday, here is what is going on this week! Each day, a new set of products will be on sale in my TpT Store! 

Today all of my Kid-friendly Common Core standards posters are on sale! They cover all the ELA & Math standards for each grade level. I currently have them made for grades 1st-4th! I am tirelessly working on making fifth grade and kindergarten. When they are completed, I will put them on sale since they weren't ready on time. 


I love these standards cards because they don't take up much space, but they still serve their purpose for showing what we are learning, which my administrator loves. I use a pocket chart to display and change out my standards. Each grade level set comes with standards pocket chart letters, subject headers, ELA & Math standards with kid-friendly language on one side and the exact Common Core standard on the back for teacher use.


Each standard serves two purposes: 
1. The front side is in kid-friendly language and describes what the students will be able to do or know once the standard has been taught. 
2. The back side is the exact Common Core standard written verbatim for teacher use. 

I also use these standards to post next to student work when it is displayed on a bulletin board.

I store my standards in a box on my desk for easy access. I made divider labels and then I put all the corresponding standards in each category. 

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to check back tomorrow for a little surprise!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vegas Lovin' and a Christmas In July Sale!


It is hard to believe that almost a week ago, I was in Vegas making memories with over 1,000 teacher bloggers. I learned so much. I got to catch up with some old friends and connect in person with so many new friends. It was a electrifying experience! Here are a few pictures I gathered along the way:

Primarily Speaking, The Tutu Teacher, Starr Spangled Planner, Firefly Speech and Language, A Burst of First, Lucky to Be In First, The Take Home Teacher






And...The time has come...Christmas in July has arrived! Yippee!!!!


I have just gotten back from Vegas and thought it would be a great idea to join some of my blogging friends to bring you some fabulous deals each day this week! Each day, I will have different items on sale in my {STORE}, so be sure to check back each day. 

On sale today are some of my BEST SELLERS~ Interactive Math Notebooks. Let's take a closer look!

I LOVE using Interactive Notebooks in my classroom! These MATH interactive notebooks are a great way to get started using them in your classroom or enhance what you are already doing. They are all Common Core aligned and available for grades K-4!






These are some sample pages from my Second Grade Interactive Math Notebook. Each activity has the standard number and the standard in kid-friendly language. If there is vocabulary they need to know, it is included as well. 

Problem solving pages give the students a variety of ways to show their thinking process. They also include the standard in kid-friendly language. 

If you are looking for ideas on how to set up interactive notebooks in your classroom, click HERE.

I also have shared ways I use interactive notebooks in my primary classroom. You can read about those ideas HERE

Thanks for stopping by. Check back tomorrow for more Christmas in July specials!

Monday, July 13, 2015

5 Tips To Avoid the Summer Slide


Summer is a favorite time of year for almost everyone. Time with family and friends, evening BBQs, a looser schedule and the best part... time to rejuvenate! 

But as a teacher and mother, summer is also a time when I want to my kids to stay sharp and not forget all the good stuff they learned during the year. That is why I dedicate one hour a day to making sure my boys are reviewing and using their reading, writing, and math skills.  This is not always one straight uninterrupted hour in the day. Sometimes it's 20 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the car, and 20 minutes later in the day. I work it into our schedule for the day, so the kids don't even know they are doing it!

READ! 
Read anywhere, anytime, any place.... Read by the pool, read outside under a tree, read under a home-made fort with a flashlight...Just READ! Make it a fun and different experience. They don't need to be at a desk or table to read. The most important thing is to make sure they have a book in their hand and they are reading. If your child is not an independent reader yet, make sure to read to them for 20 minutes each day. This will help instill the love of reading and you get to spend quality time together. 

QUICK GAMES:
Use flash cards or a deck of cards to brush up on math skills. Playing a game of WAR or Concentration is a fun way to review basic math facts.  You can use these flash cards for addition & subtraction and multiplication & division practice too. I just cut them out and put them on a ring. Then, I time my kids to see how fast they can get through them. They love to try and beat their old time. 

Once a week, we also take a timed test to brush up on our math facts. They try to complete all 50 problems in 3 minutes with no mistakes. If they are successful, they move to the next level. My kids thrive on beating the clock!

   


COOK TOGETHER:
This is a fun way to integrate reading, writing, and following directions. Yes, your kitchen and children may look like this:
Image result for kids cooking
But, I promise you, it is something they will always remember and they will feel empowered! 

Make A Summer Scrapbook:
Take pictures of all the places you go and of all the things you do over the summer. Whether it's a trip to the beach, the local zoo, or a special family adventure, make sure to take LOTS of pictures. Then, decorate a scrapbook and have your kids write captions for the pictures. This will help them brush up on their writing skills and record their memories at the same time. 

Complete A Summer Workbook:
I always have my boys complete a summer workbook to bridge their skills to the next grade level. In the past I have purchased these books from Amazon: 
My boys loved completing them and working for a prize. It may be a trip to get a Slurpee or movie of their choice. No matter how big or small the incentive, it is important to set a goal and reward them for achieving it. 
I also created a review skills packet for my own second grade students. I sent this home with them for the summer with a new book. It helps them review all their reading, writing and math skills from second grade.


Whatever you do this summer for your students or your own children, make it fun and engaging. They won't even know they are reviewing skills they have already learned and they will be ready for the upcoming school year!