Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Common Core - Simplified (yeah right)

I know that there are a lot of questions about the future of Common Core.  Who knows if it is here to stay (although we all know nothing stays in in regards to education standards) or will be thrown under the bus with every other trend in education.  The one thing that we do know is that if we live in a state that has required implementation of Common Core, then we need to hit the ground running.

My school system has been using Common Core for two years.  The first year felt like we were being thrown to the sharks.  You know how it goes, "Here are the Common Core standards.  We don't have money for the textbooks or reading materials required, nor do we have money to train you, but get out there and teach!"  I don't blame my school system.  It was just the nature of the beast at the time.

Some teachers decided to try to jump in using just the copy of the Common Core standards they were given.  Others figured if they ignored it and kept teaching the Georgia Performance Standards the Common Core would simply go away.  Then there were teachers like me.  If I'm going to teach it, then by golly I'm going to figure out as much as I can about it and teach it the best way I can.

This led me to several great resources, but two of the best are the FREE Annotated Common Core Standards that Secondary Solutions offers and the other is the Engage NY website.

The Annotated Common Core Standards is a great resource that simplifies what we are supposed to teach.  It simplifies and explains each standard in a way that just makes sense.  Secondary Solutions provides these for free for grades 3-12.  You can get them by going to their website HERE.

The EngageNY site is a massive, but useful,  amount of information on Common Core.  They have everything from videos to writing exemplars.  It really is a great site.  Plan to spend a lot of time on the site once you're there!  You can find the site HERE.

Do you have any great Common Core resources that you've found?  Feel free to share them here!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cowboy or Superhero? Fun with numbers!

I made two new games this weekend and totally forgot to add them to my blog!  My mom had surgery yesterday, so the past few days were crazy trying to get everything ready for 2 days with a sub.

I was looking for a fun way for my students to work with the 120 board to help them with number recognition and counting.  I also wanted something they could play fairly quick after morning work.  These games are great in that you can play with as few as 2 players or as many as you want.  I have my students play in groups of 2 or 3 and then have them rotate to play with other players if time allows.

Both games are the same, I just changed the theme.  One has a superhero theme and the other has a cowboy/cowgirl theme.  Students roll to determine how many spaces that they go.  If they land on a box with a number, then they just stay on the number until their next roll.  If they land on a special box that has a treasure box or cowboy boot then they draw a card from the stack.

The cards may tell "-5", "Go To 136", "Skip a Turn", or "Go Again"...among many other things.  I've been playing the games with my students this week and they LOVE them!  I hope you do, too!

You can get the Math Superhero game by going HERE  and the Wild West Math by going HERE.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sight Word Homework Packet - a entire year's worth!

I've been trying to figure out a way for students to review the Fry Sight Words in a quick way that didn't involve flashcards.  I decided to make Lightning Words handouts for homework each week for the entire year.

I wanted to make the homework fun, so I added a time component to it - hence the Lightning Words title.  Students will get a list each week that they will take home on Monday.  Each night (Monday - Thursday) they will say the 25 Lightning Words for the week as quickly as they can.  An adult will help them record their time on the sheet.  The goal is to increase the time as the week goes on, eventually getting "Lightning Fast".

I've just uploaded the files tonight to my TPT store.  The pack comes with 30 weeks worth of Lightning Words.  The lists start with the First 100 Words list, then the Second 100 Words list, a mixture of the First and Second 100 Words lists, and finally the last 5 weeks are from the Third 100 Word List.  You can snag an entire year's worth of Lightning Words by going HERE.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chevron Classroom Decor Printable Set

I just loaded my Chevron Classroom Decor Set into my TPT store.  It's a HUGE set!  Here is all that you get in this set:

120 chart poster with turquoise background (I printed this at www.shortrunposters.com for $1.97!)
120 chart poster with white background
Chevron Birthday Poster scaled for 17x24 print (also printed at Shortrun Posters)
Chevron Birthday Poster scaled for 11x17
Chevron Birthday Poster scaled for 8.5 x 11
30 rectangular chevron labels/signs
Chevron "WELCOME" pennant
Chevron Teacher Binder cover
Chevron Data Binder cover
Chevron Emergency Plans Binder cover
Chevron Gradebook Binder cover
Chevron Lesson Plans Binder cover
Chevron Meeting Notes Binder cover
Chevron Parent Contact Log Binder cover
Chevron Rosters Binder cover
Chevron Substitute Info Binder cover

Go check it out!  You won't be disappointed!  Teachers that have downloaded the individual items have left 100% positive reviews!

You can go HERE to snag this bright set for yourself!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chevron Behavior Reward Necklaces

One of the first obstacles that I knew I would face when moving from my 7th grade gifted classroom to a 1st grade classroom was behavior.  As soon as I knew I would be moving, I immediately started reading everything I could about positive behavior interventions.  I've been in a school that used PBIS  for 8 years, so I know the positive results that come along with it.

I thought I had a great system down, but after the first week of school I noticed how much these little people live for their teacher's approval.  Over the weekend I whipped these necklaces up and I started using them on Monday of the second week of school.  Wow!  My little firsties LOVE these things.  The adults in the school remark on them when they see a child with one on. Our principal helps serve lunch each day, so she always makes a point to mention their positive behavior.

I made 4 pages of necklaces.  A few are duplicates, but they are the ones that I find myself using the most often.  I printed them all on card stock and then laminated them.  I hole punched each one and then used yarn to make a necklace out of each one.  At the end of the day, the students return their necklaces.

These have been an awesome tool in my teaching toolbox!  You can get them now in my TPT store by going HERE.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finally - My Room Tour

Wow, what a great start to the new school year!  It's hard to believe that we've already been in school for three weeks!  This year has definitely been an exciting transition for me.  I've taught middle school ELA for me entire 10 year teaching career.  The last 6 years have been 7th and 8th grade Gifted ELA.  I got my elementary certification 4 years ago and have just been waiting on the right opportunity.  Our school system Rif'd 120 teachers at the end of the school year and then transferred probably that many more to other schools to fill needed openings.  I was blessed to be one of those people.  I have landed in the perfect school.  So, now I am a first grade teacher.  Yep, you heard that right!  All the way down to first grade....and I couldn't be happier!

Naturally I worked all summer studying the first grade standards, reading about topics that pertained to first grade management, gathering ideas and designing things for my classroom.   I still have a few things that I plan to add over the next couple of weeks, but here is my room in all of it's bright chevron, polka dot glory.  I did not purchase any of my posters, bulletin board letters, etc from a store this year.  After not being able to find what I wanted, I made them all.  I know it took a little more time, but I love the results and I think I probably saved money in the long run.  I love my classroom and my students and their parents seem to really enjoy it, too!

We all know what it's like to go into a new classroom.  It all bland, white and packed up.  Here is mine the first day I could go in, which was one week before preplanning started.

Here is my temporary door hanger.  I'm working on a bigger canvas picture, but for now this helps my firsties know which room is ours.  It was an unfinished wood piece that I purchased from Michael's earlier this summer.  A little paint, vinyl, bottle caps, flowers and voila...a door hanger.

Here is the view outside of my door.  I made the chevron WELCOME banner.  You can find it in my TPT store HERE.

 Here is the view you get as you walk in my door.  I've added a few things to the bulletin board behind my desk since I took these pictures.

 Here is my computer center.  I made the posters on the wall and you can find them in my TPT store HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Here is a closer look at the posters.

My classroom library has been a big hit!  I tried to go to Goodwill at least once per week this summer to begin my first grade book collection and when I visited my parents beach house this summer, I ran by the Goodwill there at least once each trip.  A retiring teacher gifted me with about 200 additional books.  I love, love, LOVE books, so this made me one happy girl!  I found my chairs at Lowe's for about $12 each and my bright colored baskets are from Big Lots.

Here's a closer look at my book basket labels.

 Here is my focus wall.  I made all of the signs and letter for this board as well.

 I just love this Chevron behavior chart that I found for FREE on TPT.  HERE is the link to the free file from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  I use clothes pins with my students' names on them.  For each day that they reach "Super Student" level they get a gem on their clip.  After they get 5 gems on their clip, they move it to the wall of fame (a picture that says "wall of fame" that has a ribbon hanging down to attach the clips to) and get a new clip.

Here in my calendar/morning math board.  At some point I think I will do all of this on the Promethian board and after Christmas I might make each student a sheet and laminate it so that it is dry erase and encourages more independent work.

Here is a closer look at my 120 chart.  This is a bad picture.  The colors are very bright, as you can see above.  I searched high and low for a 120 chart that I liked, but couldn't find one that was just right.  So, I decided to make my own.  I then used www.shortrunposters.com and had it printed into a 18x24 for only $2.97.  You can find my 120 chart HERE in my TPT store.  You get both the white center and the turquoise center with the file.

Here is looking at the front of my classroom.  I have a new bright colored rug that has been ordered and will hopefully be here this week.

I wanted a class set of dry erase boards, but they are at least $3 each.  So, off I went to Lowe's.  I found a huge sheet (4x8) of shower board for right at $11.  They were able to cut down the board into 12x12 pieces for me for free.  (LOVE this about Lowe's!!)  I then used duck tape around the ragged edges.  My students LOVE them.

This is my Word Wall.  I used paper plates for the Word Wall sign.  I found them at the Dollar Store.  I cut the letters out using my Silhouette Cameo and attached them inside the plates.  I made the letters for the board and found some cute polka dot ribbon at Wal-Mart that matched the colors of my room perfectly.  I clip the words to the ribbon each week.

Here's a closer view of the word wall.

One of my absolute favorite parts of my classroom - my curtains.  I bought 2 yards of the fabric at Hobby Lobby and used half for each window.  I hot glued all around the edges, hot glued the ball trim on and hung them on a tension rod.  I then used black ribbon to tie them up on each side.

My birthday poster that I made.  I then sent it to www.shortrunposters.com and had an 18x24 made of it for only $2.97.  You can find it in my TPT store HERE.

I made this light to indicate when work should be quiet work.  When the light is on, we work silently.

These are my seat labels.  I decided that this would be an easy way to move students after the year got started.  I made the labels, laminated them, hole punched them and used a round book clip to attach them to the back of all of the chairs.  I also have name tags on their desk for the first few weeks, but this will not get as dirty or give students something to pick at like the desk labels do.

My desk.  I just glued wrapping paper from Party City to the front and trimmed it with grosgrain ribbon.  I cut the letters out using my Cameo and then attached an owl that I made to add a little more decoration.

Easiest way ever to keep up with papers for the week.  I like to make all of my copies before I leave on Friday for the following week.  As I make copies throughout the week, I can store them in my "Next Week" drawer.

Here is where we are hanging work in the hall.  I made the owls with their names preprinted on them.  I laminated them and glued them to clothes pins.  I think hot glued the clothes pins to push pins so that they could hang from the corkboard strip outside of my door.

My daughter helped me model the frame that I made so that I could take pictures of all of my firsties.  I just used a piece of foam board from the Dollar Store and hot glued ribbon and decorations to make it cute.

Treats for the first day of school!

Finally, one of what I consider to be the best positive behavior management tools that I am using - behavior necklaces.  I made them, laminated them, hole punched them and then tied a piece of yarn into  a necklace.  My students LOVE them and it can turn a misbehaving student around quickly.  I have about 100 made up, so there are enough for every student to get one throughout the day.  I have everything from "I lost a tooth", "I was a good friend", "Number Talk Whiz", to "Superstar in the Hall".  I'm thinking about adding these to my TPT store as well.

Well, there you have it.  I hope I haven't bored you to death.  Personally, I really enjoy looking at pictures of other teachers' classrooms.  I find that it gives me a ton of inspiration.  And who doesn't need a little inspiration from time to time?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bright Chevron Academic Calendar Printable

I just uploaded a bright chevron calendar to my TPT store.  I couldn't find one that I liked, so I figured I would just make my own!

Each month is spread over 2 pages and even gives you a space each week for notes.  The entire file is 24 pages.  Months are August - June.

You can find it in my TPT store by going HERE.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Classroom Posters on the Cheap...and a Discount Code!

Have you priced posters lately?  It's insane how much some of them can run.  Recently I was at a school supply store looking for posters for my 1st grade classroom.  I was trying to match the decor and colors that I planned to use in my classroom.  I kept coming up empty.  I'm pretty nifty with the computer, so I decided to come home and just figure it out on my own.  What I found out was that making posters from home and having them printed is super simple!

I found two resources for printing posters.  The first one is www.staples.com .  Once on their site, look for the Copy & Print services on the left hand side of the page.  You basically start the process like you are going to make a regular color print.  Once you've uploaded your design (more instructions on that in a moment), choose 11x17 for the size.  You get 2 paper choices.  One is a regular copy paper type and the other is more of a card stock.  The regular copy paper is $.98 and the card stock is $1.97.  I decided to go ahead with the card stock.  I had 5 posters printed and I am THRILLED with the results!

Next I decided that I needed a few that were a little larger.  I needed a birthday poster and a 120 chart for my math board.  Again, I couldn't find anything that I liked.  Personally I didn't want to pay what Staples wanted for a larger size print, so I started looking around.  I found a really great website called www.shortrunposters.com .  You can get an 18x24 for only $2.97.  Now shipping was a little higher - right under $10, however if you are ordering multiple posters the price doesn't go up making it a good deal to get exactly what you want.  I ordered 2 and was COMPLETELY thrilled with the final product!

I just got them on Friday, so I haven't had time to laminate and hang them yet.

So, here are the super difficult instructions on how to create a poster.  Ummm, nope.  I don't do difficult.  Here are the super EASY instructions on how to create a poster.

First, open PowerPoint if you're on a PC or Keynote if you're own a Mac.

Next, change the size of the slide.  For Keynote you choose the Inspector.  I'm not in front of a PC right now, so I don't remember exactly where you go, but look for the option to change your slide size.  You want to multiply the size you would like your poster by 72.  So, if you want an 11x17 poster you would make your slide size 792 x 1224 and for an 18 x 24 you would make the slide size 1296 x 1728.

Make your poster by adding text, images, etc.  There are a ton of great resources online for teachers to use free clipart for their classrooms.  Just google "free teacher clipart" or "free owl clipart" etc.

After you have your slide exactly how you want it, export it as a PDF and save it.

Now you're ready to upload the file to Staples or Short Run Posters!

Now, Short Run Posters is running a deal right now.  You can get FREE SHIPPING by using the code popJULY13.

This has been a great resource for me to learn for my classroom and I hope that you can use the info, too!

Several of the above posters are available in my TPT store.  You can find them HERE.

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Chevron Classroom Decor

This year I will be leaving the middle school classroom and moving to 1st grade.  It's a huge change, but I couldn't be more excited.  One thing that I have been working on this summer is getting my classroom just right.  I have decided to go with a bright classroom that includes chevron, polka dots and owls.  Today I got several things ready to have printed and laminated.  I've uploaded them to my TPT store.  I will be adding more over the next two days with this design and a few others that seem to be trending right now.  I'm listing items separately and also in a package.  That way you can only buy what you like or, if you like it all, you can buy the entire set for less than buying each item individually.

Here is a link to my chevron 120 chart.

Here is a link to my chevron Class Birthday Poster.

I used www.shortrunposters.com to print each of these in 18x24 for only $2.97 each!  I'm putting the birthday poster in a brightly painted picture frame with a glass front.  That will allow me to use a dry erase marker to write student names in and then it will be easy to edit and use again next year.

I've just added a "WELCOME TO" chevron bunting to my TPT store.  You can get it here.

Look for other chevron items to be posted over the next couple of hours and then different designs over the next few days.  Have an idea for your classroom decor?  Send me a message and I will see what I can do!

Happy Friday!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

1st-8th Grade Math Common Core Checklists

I've had a bunch of people purchase my Common Core Checklists for ELA and several have asked for Math Common Core Checklist.  Now that school is out for the summer, I've had some time to work on them!  You can find the Math Common Core Checklist by clicking on the following links:

1st Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

2nd Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

3rd Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

4th Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

5th Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

6th Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

7th Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

8th Grade Math Common Core Checklist HERE

You can find my entire Teachers Pay Teachers Store HERE, including the ELA Common Core Checklists!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's a Reading Fair!!

I'm so excited!  I am currently working on a non-fiction reading fair with my 7th grade students and I am LOVING it!  It is fantastic to see kids getting so interested in reading non-fiction.  This is a GREAT end of the year project!

When I first took my students to the library to choose a non-fiction book, I was surprised to learn that for many of them this was their first time checking out a non-fiction book.  They had no clue as to where to begin.  We did a mini-lesson on the Dewey Decimal System and then we were back in working order.

Students are going to read a non-fiction text and then create a science fair type try-board that has various required components on it.  They also have to either dress as the main topic of the book or they can create a 3-dimensional visual of some sort.  I am so excited to have so many interesting ideas from students.  Their creativity is really going to shine with this project!

We will set up just like a science fair.  I have asked several people at school (Principal, Media Specialist, etc) to come through and judge using the rubric.  This will determine a 1st, 2nd, and 4rd place winner.  I will use the rubric to grade each project, which will serve as each student's nine weeks' exam grade.

I am so excited about this project and couldn't wait to share!  I've already put the project up on my TPT store if you're interested.  I will post pictures in a month when all of the projects are done.

You can get the Non-Fiction Reading Fair project file by going HERE.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I love saving money!

Wow...I can't believe that March is almost over.  My school system in on a modified schedule and we have 2 spring breaks.  We CELEBRATED the first week off last week and it was wonderful.  My parents bought a beach house in Cape San Blas, Florida and we spent the week with them.  I must say, if you've never visited this part of Florida it is a must see!

I have a longer post that has some CRCT prep information coming a little later this weekend, but I couldn't wait to share with you a new money savings app that I recently found.  The App is called Ibotta and is available for free in iTunes and the Android store.  You take these little one question surveys about products that you might be interested in purchasing and it credits you for each question you answer.  If you end up purchasing the product, you simply snap a picture of the barcode and receipt and they turn your credit into a monetary credit.  You can then transfer this money to your Paypal account or send it to any school in the US.  I went to Kroger earlier tonight and spent $33.  I earned $4.50 using Ibotta.  I usually use coupons, but this was a quick trip in without any and this $4.50 made the trip really worthwhile.  The trip would have been even better had I used my coupons!  The great thing is that the money is credited to your account within 24 hours!  The more you use the app and the more personalized your product offers become.  This is one little money savings app that I am extremely impressed with!  If you're interested in learning more, all you have to do is go here.