Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Peek At My Week and Classroom Pictures Part Two

I am back to share part two of my classroom pictures, but first I want to link up with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin’s Laughings for her linky A Peek At My Week.
Math We will continue working with place value to 1,000,000.  This week’s big focus will be rounding numbers to a quick review on comparing whole numbers.  My students have done a great job with their interactive notebooks and have begun picking up speed with the cutting and gluing that is involved.  Math rotations are going well and will continue this week.
Reading For the next two weeks, the focus during reading will be drawing conclusions.  Chris Van Allsburg’s picture books lend themselves well to drawing conclusions.  Not only are his books well written and illustrated, both the girls and boys love reading and hearing his books.  I will be reading 7 of his books to my class over the next couple of weeks.  We will also complete an author study on him.  Look for a blog post at the end of the month to see how this evolved in my room.  Since testing has ended, I will also begin pulling guided reading groups.
Word Study Last week we worked on closed syllable words and this week the focus will be on open syllable words.  My students will recite, write, break apart, and complete speed drills on 20 open syllable words throughout the week.
Writing/Grammar We will discuss sentence fluency and word choice.  My students will revise a rough draft from last week with making at least 5 revisions based on sentence fluency and word choice.  We will also identify simple and compound sentences in their writing and in the books they are reading.
Social Studies Do you know about the neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.?  My fourth graders will know about them by Friday.  They will also study a historical map of the nation’s capital.
Now for more classroom pictures.  If you missed part one, it can be found HERE.  Here are a few pictures of my CAFE board. 
Under it you will find picture books that I have used during the week for read-alouds (The books below were used for making predictions.), the reading responses file holder, and a book of nonfiction text features. (I also have a box of tissues, hand sanitizer, and hand wipes in this corner.  You will find these items in each corner of my classroom.)
The reading responses holder contains hanging files of the most commonly used book reports, reading reflection sheets, reading logs for our classroom and at home, and reading most frequently used graphic organizers.
In the corner of my classroom you will find our Smarty Pants.  I saw this on Pinterest about 3 summers ago and my students love it each year.
I will be posting the last of them tomorrow, so I hope you will return.  As always, thank you for stopping by today!
I look forward to reading and responding to your comments. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Classroom Pictures 2013 - Part One

WOW!!  I haven’t posted in so long!  Life has gotten to me and I have been just trying to stay afloat.  I hope things are settling down a bit and I am able to begin sharing again. 
I hope you will find this post interesting enough to make it to the end.
Today I wanted to begin by sharing some pictures of my classroom with you.
Here is a picture of my front door.  I have a camping theme this year.  Each student has a tent.  There is a circle on it with their name and a picture of a campfire.  I will place their picture in the front of each tent.  I didn't want to post there pictures online so this is before the pictures.

Next up is a new addition to my classroom my word wall pockets. 
I have always had a word wall in my classroom, but in previous years it was a basic one with the letters of the alphabet across a wall with words listed under the alphabet.  I teach 4th grade and the words can become pretty numerous and the wall would become overcrowded, which led to students not bothering to locate the words they needed.
I was happy to find a picture on Pinterest of library pockets being used to hold word wall words for an intermediate class.  I immediately decided this would be a solution for my word wall issues. 
My mother makes all types of things (purses, bags, curtains, blankets, etc.) with old jeans.  She had a pile of back pockets that were perfect for me to use for my word wall.  I just used my Cricut to add letters to the front of the pockets and small magnets on the back to hold the pockets on the cabinet.
Jean material can be found throughout my room (curtains, background material for boards, seat pockets, and pillows).  No matter what theme I change to each year my jean items fit in just fine.
Here is a picture of my new word wall!
I love it and even though it only has two weeks’ worth of words in it, my students are actively using it. 
Here is a close up picture of one of my word wall words.
This is a picture of my Overused Words Chart.  If you want to find out more about how I use it I posted about it HERE.  If you would like to get a copy of the words, they can be found HERE
This is my “Camp Rules” Board.  Sorry for the glare on the tree.  I laminated it for durability, but it doesn’t do well for pictures.
On this board you will find our classroom rules.  After we discussed and agreed on the rules, each student signed in agreement and I hung it under our “Tree of Knowledge”.  I call it the “Tree of Knowledge” because each week students place sticky notes on the tree that reflects on their learning from the previous week.
You will also find our fire drill produces, school’s Definition of Bullying, I-Statement, Consequences, and Apology of Action mini posters on this board.
Under the board is our compliment box, container of passes, and picture books that I have read that discuss goals, decision making, and characters with positive personality traits.
Students are encouraged to put compliments in this box when they see their classmates going beyond the call of duty.  Each week I read about 5 compliments and the students get to wear the compliment around their wrist throughout the day.

We go to the restroom twice a day as a class, but there are always other times when students need to use the restroom.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget that I gave a student permission to leave the room.  This is why I have the classroom passes.  Students are to leave the pass on top of their desk.  I can quickly take a look around the room to see who is out and why.  I have bathroom passes, a nurse pass, an office pass, and a pass to another room.
Each year my mother makes me new restroom passes to match my classroom theme.  Here are some pictures of my new passes.
One more thing for today SmileMakers so generously allowed me to test out their Deluxe Yacker Tracker in my classroom.  After two weeks of testing, I think it is a wonderful way to keep my students voice levels down during cooperative learning groups.
It comes with a remote control and an optional plug.  You have the option of having the programmed sound go off if the noise level reaches too high or you may opt to record your own sound.  You can adjust how sensitive you want the tracker to be and the amount of time between the caution light and the stop light.
I began using it on a low shelf plugged into the wall, but found that even on a low setting it went off before I felt as though my students were too loud.  My students were just too close to the tracker.  After adding batteries and placing it on top of a cabinet it is working perfectly for my classroom.  By having a remote control, there really isn’t a need for me to reach up to operate it.
It is a great addition to my room and my students quickly lower their voice levels when the caution light and sound signals they are getting too loud.  I love that I don’t have to stop what I am doing to remind them to use inside voices.
Well, this is it for me today.  I hope you will come back tomorrow, so that I can show you more of my classroom.
Since it has been almost a month since my last post, I will randomly select one winner from comments on this post.  The winner can select two items from my TPT Store. You have until Monday, September 16th to leave a comment.
Comments and questions are truly valued!  Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Did Someone Say Back to School Sale?

I just LOVE a good sale and Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting their Back-to-School Sale today and tomorrow, August 18th and 19th.

Like many other sellers, all of my resources are on sale for 20%.  Use code BTS13 at check out to receive an extra 10% discount!

Thank you Krista from Creative Clips for the button!

I wanted to share some of the most wish listed resources in my store.
Common Core Aligned

This product includes everything a student will need to write a research report on a person. You will only need to print the pages, provide the students with the resources to find the information, and have students bind the pages into a book. If possible, copy the cover page and final page on white cardstock to make the book sturdier.

I have my students complete all pages before binding the book together. I suggest punching four holes in the book and having students tie the book with ribbon.

This product includes the following:
four prewriting web graphic organizers
student cover page
early life page
middle life page
late life page
character traits
interesting facts page
inspiration page
bibliography page
editing/writing checklist
grading rubric
This resource is much like the biography report and includes the following pages:
five prewriting web graphic organizers
student cover page
physical description page
diagram page
senses page
what they eat page
habitat page
family page
enemies page
interesting facts page
bibliography page
editing/writing checklist
grading rubric
If you are interested in purchasing both of them, I have them available in a bundle here.

Here are the two resources separate Prefixes and Suffixes.

I have many items in my cart just waiting for checkout!

Stop by Teachers Pay Teachers and pick up some great resources.

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hope and Dreams

Students return to my school on Monday, August 26th and one of many things I do with them the first week of school is help them to develop their hopes and dreams for the school year.
Yesterday, I spent time in my classroom library selecting the books that have characters that are working on making their hopes and dreams come true.

During the first week of school, I am going to read the following five books. 

Brave Irene By William Steig

Despite a raging snowstorm, Irene, a dressmaker's daughter, offers to deliver the duchess' newly finished ball gown . . . With sure writing and well-composed, riveting art, Steig keeps readers with Irene every step of the long way.

More Than Anything Else    By Marie Bradby and Chris K. Soentpiet  

Nine-year-old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he'll be able to read.

Miss Rumphius   By Barbara Cooney  

Alice Rumphius wanted to travel the world when she grew up, and then to live by the seajust as her grandfather had done. But there is one more thing, he tells her: she must do something to make the world more beautiful. Young Alice does not yet know what that will be.

Tar Beach   By Faith Ringgold  

Inspired by people who have overcome adversity, Faith Ringgold creates picture books for children that celebrate freedom, courage, and peace. In Tar Beach, through her dreams and her ability to fly, Cassie makes things better for her family during the Great Depression. "Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the 'tar beach' of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem.

Uncle Jed'sBarbershop   By Margaree King Mitchell and James Ransome

Sarah Jean's Uncle Jed, the only black barber in the county, overcomes many setbacks, including the Great Depression of the 1930's, as he works to save enough money to open his own barber shop.

At the end of the week, I will have my students write their hopes and dreams for the school year.  They will also set goals for the first quarter of school.  At the end of each quarter they will write a reflection of that quarter’s goals and write their new goals for the next quarter.

I am always on the lookout for new books!  What books do you share with your students that focus on hopes and dreams?

Until next time!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It and Two Small Giveaways!

It is time for Tara’s Monday Made It Linky! 

I give it my all to link up each week, but I often fall short of that goal.  I do, however, take time throughout the week to look at all the wonderful things that bloggers have created.
This week I am cheating a bit and my Monday Made Its are "Made By My Mom Monday Made Its".  She made them for me, so doesn’t that count?
My mother is very talented and makes half of the items in my classroom.  If it is to be sewn, sawed, painted, hot glued, or built she did some all of the work!  I thought I better be honest she may be reading this.
I can’t stand clutter!  I need everything in a place and little things I want hidden.  Decorated paint cans are perfect for that!  They are the perfect size, stackable, and sturdy.  My mom has decorated two of them each year over the last four years. 
Here is the picture of the cans fresh from the shelves of Lowes.
Here are pictures of the two new cans after my mother’s creativity and hard work has kicked into gear.
Don’t you LOVE them?  Every year I end up with a new favorite. 
My current paint cans hold pencils, erasers, peppermints, dry erase markers, stickers, marbles, lollipops, and desk fairy coupons.
I haven’t even decided what will go in these two cuties, but I know it won’t take me long to fill them up.
Remember how I said I love hidden storage well next up is a bench.  I have four benches in my classroom (You can see them here.) and needed wanted one more to hold recess games.  Plus the benches are a great place for my students to have a comfy place to sit.
Here are some before pictures of a bench my mother picked up for me at a yard sale.
Here it is after she sanded and painted it.  She also made a pillow to make it more comfortable for sitting.
It definitely looks better and will fit just right into my classroom décor.
Now before you click over to Tara’s blog, 4th Grade Frolics, to see all the marvelous treasures that were created this weekI thought it would be nice to have a quick giveaway. 
I have two products in my store that have are being purchased quite a bit lately.  Tomorrow night, August 13th, I will select two numbers from the comments below. (I would still love to read and respond to your comments even if you aren't interested in winning one of the two products!) 
The first randomly chosen number will receive a copy of my Grammar Interactive Notebook Flaps, which can be found here.
The second randomly drawn number will receive a copy of my Nine Sets of Place Value Task Cards for Older Students.  They can be found here.
Until next time!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text - Math Poetry


I am linking up with Amanda and Stacia at Collaboration Cuties for their Must Have Mentor Text Linky.

The book I am linking up this week isn’t exactly a book that can be read directly to students, but it does have math poems that are read to the class.  Please forgive me this time, but it really is a book that should be shared!
Math Poetry:  Linking Language and Math in a Fresh Way written by Betsy Franco has become a must have resource in my classroom and is now one of my go to books for several math skills.
Here is a description from Amazon:
Cat + mouse = scared mouse! That's a "mathematickle," a word game using the conventions of math in a way that's so surprising, poetic, and delightful that this book of 20 activity ideas won a 2009 Teachers' Choice Award. Clear instructions, reproducible handouts, and a table matching lessons to math and language arts standards ease the way into activities that both gifted and ELL students will enjoy. Math topics covered include number sense, estimation, measurement, money, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, inverse operations, geometry, algebra, and graphing.
I wish I had remembered to bring my book home or had taken some pictures of the inside, but I forgot.  Click here, and it will take you to Amazon's website where you can get an inside view of the book.
With crystal clear instructions, easy-to-use activities and templates, Math Poetry provides an innovative way to teach both math and writing. Students generally have trouble with math word problems. When they write their own word problems in the form of poems, they learn the vocabulary and concepts. You'll be amazed by their creativity.
Now, it is time to visit Collaboration Cuties to find more must read mentor texts!
On a side note:  Today and tomorrow I am having 20% off sale at my Teacher's Notebook Store.  They are holding their Back-to-School Sale.  They have bundles available that you can purchase at an 80% discount.   I have a math resource in Bundle #23.  This bundle has 20 resources for $20.90 which is a savings of $83.60!
I will be back tomorrow for Monday Made It!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday Made It and August Back to School Goals

I can see my summer coming to an end!  I have 19 days remaining before teachers are to return at my school. 

I have accomplished a lot this summer but I still have quite a few things on my to-do-list.  I am staying positive that it will all be completed with time to spare. (If I type it it has to come true right?!)

I am a day late, but I am linking up with Tara at 4thGrade Frolics for her famous Monday Made It Linky. 
Last year I made owl birthday bags similar to these.
An end of the year gift
I included a pencil, a large crayon shaped eraser, a birthday certificate, no homework slip, and a ring pop in each bag.
Two years ago I made birthday balloons with candy straws and my students really liked them and so did I.  They are easier to make and storing them is no problem.
So this year I decided to make them again.

I made my balloons in four colors, three different titles, and used two different types of ribbons.  

Here are up close pictures of the three titles.  The words are the same but the backgrounds are different.  My mother came up with the saying so that it would match my camping theme.

After cutting out the balloons on the Cricut, I used the scrap paper to fill the vase.  I simply put the scraps through my paper shredder.

Jess at I {Heart} Recess is hosting a Monthly Goals Linky and for the month of August we are focusing on Back to School.
I {Heart} Recess
Here are my goals:

Personal - leave work on time I plan to use my planning periods effectively this year.  I am going to close and lock my door during my planning periods and take care of business.  No talking to my coworkers, hanging out in the teacher’s lounge, or spending time in the office.   I can get done most if not all of my work if I follow this plan.  I don’t want to carry home a bag full of need-to-do work.

Organization - grade papers the day I collect them I don’t grade a ton of work, because a lot of it is practice and I review it with my students.  What I do grade will be graded right away.  No more hauling stacks of papers home and grading them on their third car ride to my house.  Grading right away will also help me to know which students are still in need of re-teaching before I move on to the next lesson.  I want to help them while the concepts are still fresh in their heads and mine.

Planning - complete my plans a month ahead of schedule I do make a yearly plan, which I am happy to say is already completed.  I have also complete my plans for August and September.  If I stay ahead of schedule it will give me the comfort I need throughout the year.  There are times when I am busy with life, sick, or just don’t feel like working on lesson plans.  I know I will have to go back and add, delete, and/or modify those plans but it will be less time consuming then starting from the beginning.

Professional conference more with my students during workshop times I found that I spend too much time with students during our conferences and don’t see enough students.  I plan to use a timer this year to keep my on schedule.  I love the way that conferencing helps me really to get to know my students and I want this to better utilize this time.

Students help them set realistic goals and achieve them Last year I worked with my students on setting goals and deciding on steps to achieve them.  I started off strong with this but I must admit I didn’t finish quite as strong.  I think it is important to teach students to set realistic goals and I plan to do a better job at that this year.

Motto - When I am tempted to lose patience with someone remember how patient God has been with me. We have all had those students that push us to our limits.  I seem to have one or two every year.  I must remember to practice a little more patience with him/her and try to find something that will help him/her to be successful in my classroom.

Stop by Tara’s blog to see all of the wonderful projects bloggers have completed this week and Jess’s blog to see what goals others have set from back to school.
What do you do/give to celebrate your students birthdays?

Until next time