Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Made It! 5 Projects to Share!

Hello All!

My summer vacation time is ending and I return to work in exactly one week.  I am very anxious because I don’t have access to my classroom due to my floor tiles being replaced.  It was a MUCH needed repair, but I really want to get my room set up for the new school year.  Luckily, I did complete most of my bulletin boards. 

Today I am linking up with Tara from 4th GradeFrolics for her linky... Monday Made It.  This is my absolute favorite linky because I love looking at all the wonderful and creative things everyone has made.
My first project is my new sharp and dull pencil containers.  I purchased the buckets from Dollar Tree, the jute from Target, and the denim ribbon and letters (They are stickers.) from Michael’s.  I cut the pencils out on my Cricut machine.

My second project are birthday treats for my students.  I have a western theme in my classroom so they will receive birthday loot bags and a card from me. 

My mother made the bags out of burlap and handmade all of the birthday cards.  She made each card different so that they are a little more personal.  She is very talented and always willing to spend part of her summer helping me with my classroom.  Here is another card and the poem that is inside of each card.
This is what the students will find inside their loot bag.  The inside of all the bags are the same with the exception of the color of the eraser and pattern on the birthday pencil.  I have written their names on the bookmark and on the outside of their birthday card.

Project number three are my two bench seats.  They were made with materials purchased at Michael’s with the exception of the wood for the top, which was purchased at Lowe’s.  I put two hinges on the top of each bench to make them easy to open and close.  I LOVE benches!!!  I have them all over my classroom.  I don’t have built in storage in my classroom, so the benches provide storage for all of my stuff.

Project number four is one that I can’t take credit for at all.  My mother found an old bench at a yard sale.  It was brown and full of stains.  She covered the bottom in dark denim and the top with denim waistbands and seams from old jeans. 
This is the miracle she worked on it!  This sitting bench was made for my home.  It is filled with sweaters.  I was able to empty one whole dresser into this bench.  The pictures don’t do it justice it is gorgeous and very spacious! 

She made a smaller one for me last year for my classroom, but I really wanted one for my home, too.  It is still a nice size.  Two students can comfortably sit on it together.  I store our cleaning wipes in it.

This is how it looked when I bought it from a yard sale and when she was laying out the denim seams.  She is very meticulous, so it took her forever.  I LOVE you mom!
My last project is my 20 responding to Reading ChoiceBoards.  I used a version of them in my classroom last year and my students were very successful with them.  It was insightful for me when I read their responses and helped me guide them during conferences.  This summer I touched them up to make them more visually appealing and reworded some of the prompts that my students found confusing.

I use choice boards with my small groups and to hold my students accountable during independent reading. The boards can be teacher or student selected. My students are given the half sheet choice boards so that they can glue them in their reading journal. I typically tell them how many choices they are required to complete and then they color in the boxes as they answer the question in their journal.  I have also included full page choice boards if you choose to have your students staple their responses to the back of their choice board and turn it in to you.

You will find the following 20 choice boards included in this resource:

5 Respond to Reading Choice Boards
Making Connections
Making Connections

If you would like to take a closer look at it or get a copy to use with your students it can be found HERE.

Now it is time for you to hop on over to Tara’s blog at 4th Grade Frolics and take a look at some more teacher creations.

Until next time,

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Read Aloud List

We all know how important it is for our students to read great literature and we also know how important it is for them to hear it being read, too.

Each year I am in search of new chapter books to read to my students.  I have my favorites but even after several years of reading them, I am ready for a change. 

Last year I had a goal to read to my students for a minimum of 15 minutes each day.  On most days I was successful, but that wasn’t good enough.  This year I am going to put it in my daily schedule.  I have an awkward 20 minutes after lunch before my students go to Specials that would be a perfect spot for read alouds.  I plan to read for 15 minutes and that leaves them 5 minutes to use the restroom and prepare to go to that day's Special. 

I made it through 6 books last year, so with a more consistent reading time I hope to make it through 8 this year.  Here are the books on my list.

What do you think about my book list?  Are there ones listed that didn’t go over well in your classrooms?  Did any of them go really well?

I will begin with Because of Mr. Terupt, which is not listed in the books above and hope to end the year with Rump - The True Story of Rumplestiltskin.  The Color of My Words will be read during writing workshop

I have class copies of The One and Only Ivan, The Bridge to Terabithia, Because of Winn Dixie, and Bud, Not Buddy.  While I am reading them the students will be able to hold their own copies.  My students and I will be listening to Bud, Not Buddy being read from a CD. 

You can read the overviews about the books below.  (The overviews are from Amazon.)

Because of Mr. Terupt

It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.
Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything
and everyone.

Among the Hidden

In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke, an illegal third child, has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm in this start to the Shadow Children series from Margaret Peterson Haddix.
Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.
Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.
Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Series

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship
and a cheeky sense of humorhe just might triumph in the end.

The Great Unexpected

Humorous and heartfelt, this is a story of pairsof young Naomi and Lizzie, both orphans in present-day Blackbird Tree, USA, and of Sybil and Nula, grown-up sisters from faraway Rook's Orchard, Ireland, who have become estranged.

Young Naomi Deane is brimming with curiosity and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. She knows all the peculiar people in townlike Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. Just like that. A strangely charming Finn boy. And then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealedthree locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boyand soon Naomi and Lizzie find their lives changed forever.

As two worlds are woven together, Creech reveals that hearts can be mended and that there is indeed a gossamer thread that connects us all.

Because of Winn Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie, a big, ugly, happy dog, 10-year-old Opal learns 10 things about her long-gone mother from her preacher father. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal makes new friends among the somewhat unusual residents of her new hometown, Naomi, Florida. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to find her place in the world and let go of some of the sadness left by her mother's abandonment seven years earlier.

With her newly adopted, goofy pooch at her side, Opal explores her bittersweet world and learns to listen to other people's lives. This warm and winning book hosts an unforgettable cast of characters, including a librarian who fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace, an ex-con pet-store clerk who plays sweet music to his animal charges, and the neighborhood "witch," a nearly blind woman who sees with her heart. Opal brings her own unique and wonderful voice to a story of friendship, loneliness, and acceptance. Opal's down-home charm and dead-on honesty will earn her friends and fans far beyond the confines of Naomi, Florida.

The One and Only Ivan

Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.

Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

The Color of My Words

Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.

The Bridge to Terabithia

Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

Bud, Not Buddy

In Flint, Michigan at the height of the Great Depression, Bud is on his own with his suitcase full of memories. After being placed and subsequently mistreated, once again in foster care, he has decided that he has had enough of the system and takes his future into his own hands. His late momma may never have told him who his father is, but she left flyers advertising the famous musician, Herman E. Calloway, and Bud sets off on a quest to find him. His journey brings him into contact with the harsh realities and struggles of the time, but Bud refuses to give in. His perseverance and positive attitude when he has no one but himself to believe in will have readers young and old rooting for him, as he seeks out knowledge, love, and a sense of belonging in a world that seems to have abandoned him. A perfect companion for any middle school history class or a stand-alone novel, Bud’s adventure is and will continue to be a classic for generations to come.

I would love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on my read aloud list.  What’s on your list for this year?

Until next time,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Assess Me! Week 2: This or That?

I am back to participate in Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher linky.  I am enjoying finding out what I have in common with other bloggers. 
Here are my answers:

Jeans are a definite!! I can dress them up or down.

Earrings won’t leave the house without them

Big Pimpin’ Who? What?

Silver goes well with anything

City I am allergic to grass and trees I would die in the country!

In Store I MUST try on my clothes before purchasing.

Showers I can easily wash my hair.

Story keeper I much rather keep it to myself.

Homebody I stay busy, but I like to do it from home.

Breakfast Pancakes and orange juice, please!

Tea I don’t like the smell of coffee.

Early bird This one is new for me I use to be able to stay up at night.

Undone I like to be comfortable jeans, nice shirt, and flats are heaven!

Thunder I don’t like either, but thunder is the less of the two evils.

Flats I like to be comfortable!

Airplane Quickest way, please!

Girls or New Girl TV show??  I’ve never watched them.

Central Air Again, I like to be comfortable!

Go visit The Tattooed Teacher to see who else has linked up!

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let The Work Begin!

I have a little less than 3 weeks before teacher work days begin.  I have purchased and made almost everything I want for new school year. 

I am slowly getting my classroom bulletin boards ready for the new school year.  This is my first completed one.  What do you think?

I will be taking pictures of my students wearing a cowboy hat and bandana and placing it on the wanted job posters.  I am going to use the sepia setting so that it will stay with the theme.

I have a long way to go, but when I finally finish my classroom I will post a room tour.

Here are the three borders I am using throughout my room.  I purchased the borders from Scholastic and Mardel’s:

These are the other things I purchased from Mardel’s.  I am jealous of those of you who live close enough to visit their store.  I have only made online purchases.

Did you notice my classroom will have a Western theme?

I purchased this pocket chart from Walmart for $12.97.  I was surprised to see this in the store.  It is well made and has 27 paper slots.  I saw them in red, blue, and black.  I know a lot of teachers use it for students’ mail, but I plan to place graphic organizers, reading response sheets, and other forms that students will need on a regular basis in it.  This way they have access to them without needing my help.  I can also clearly see when more copies are needed.

I purchased these two pocket charts from Target.  If I remember correctly they were $3.00 each.  The first one shows the folders that I will be using in them.  The second one shows the folders that come with the pocket chart. 
I purchased new library book baskets for my room, too.  They came from Michael’s.  They were pricey but I won’t have to purchase new baskets again.  They come in 3 sizes and I purchased the medium and large ones.

Both baskets hold a great number of books.  The smaller baskets will hold my series and author study books.  The larger baskets hold books by genre and all of my nonfiction books. I will do a post on my new library in a couple of weeks. 

I have two items, genre posters and calendar pieces,  in my TPT store that I made for my western theme.  You can pick them up by clicking on the pictures below:

Before the end of the week I will be sharing the chapter books that I have chosen to read to my students.

Until next time!