Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Election Goodies

My first presentation is complete! It was a little stressful and I'm glad to have it marked off of my summer to do list.  I plan to take the next few precious days and relax because things are about to get crazy.  I do have a few fun crafty projects planned that I will share with you.  I promise that I'm getting better at taking before and after pictures.  Be sure to check back for pictures soon! 

Meanwhile, I was so excited to find election goodies at my local Dollar Tree! If you haven't been recently, check out the pictures below and then run out and grab these election goodies now. I know they won't last long.  

I voted stickers, a ballot box, and 2 posters promoting voting. 

Ballot Box

Don't forget to order election books to match your unit.  It will be  here before you know it. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Business Cards

This summer I've made a new friend....his name is "the UPS guy".  He visits me at least once a week.

I have had a real problem ordering things online.  One of my latest purchases was new business cards for my blog and TPT store.  It seems a little extreme doesn't  it?  Maybe it is.  However, I have a least 2 upcoming occasions that I'm going to need them.  

Next week, I will  be teaching a class for beginning bloggers at my county's summer training session.   This is a huge 3 day event where teachers can go to learn about a wide range of teacher specific things.  It's our own mini conference. I've convinced my friend Janah to teach the class with me and we are very excited.  You can find her at Door Decor by Janah.  Check her out, you won't want to miss her cute back to school designs.
So there you have the first reason I will need  my new business cards.

The second and oh so exciting  reason is that I will also be teaching at the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators annual conference in November. This is exciting and nerve racking all  at the same time.  How did this even come about you wonder???  Well, Laura Candler (yes, the one and only) contacted me and asked if I would  consider teaching at the conference.  How do you say no to Laura Candler? I don't think you do.  The best part is that she is oh so sweet and helpful and is working with me on some other projects too.  She is one smart cookie! 

There you have it.  This is how I  justified getting these super cute business cards. Now if only I could find an equally adorable holder for them. 

I purchased these from Lindsay at Happy Potamus Designs
She was amazing to work with and I would recommend her to anyone. She works very fast too which was wonderful since this was a last minute decision. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crayon Storage {Organization}

I was having a conversation with someone the other day about classroom supplies and I realized that sometimes I forget to share the little things that I'm used to doing.  How I store my crayons is one of those things! 

A few years back another teacher and I began an unhealthy hunt for crayon storage containers and the perfect table basket.  This is when I discovered that a 24 pack of crayons fits perfectly into a 9oz Glad container! Who knew right? I'm sure that they carry these little gems other places, but I have only been able to find them at Target near me. 

I have used them for years now and one container per child will last ALL year.  I have only had one child take their scissors and stab holes in the container. Even then, the sides still held up and the lid held its ground.
At the beginning of the year I ask for parents to send at least 4 packs of Crayola crayons and we change them out at least once a quarter.  On the top of each container I place a small mailing label with the student name so we can keep track of who each box belongs to. 

Follow the pictures to see how it works. Feel free to PIN them if you want to remember this handy trick!

Don't  you just love the smell of new crayons?

There they are! All lined up and ready for the little ones. 

I also wanted to tell you that I have posted my Word Study Unit {A Guide for All Year} Dolch using the Dolch word list in order of frequency.  Head on over and grab this unit and I promise it will save you some time this school year!

If you want the Fry list instead, click HERE

Monday, July 23, 2012

Word Study Unit {A Guide for All Year}

After many hours of working with 3 other fabulous first grade teachers, my word study unit has finally received an overhaul! I am thrilled to be able to share it with you and hopefully make your life easier.  If I would have had this document when I started teaching, it would have been priceless...

This is probably one of the best things I have ever created for my classroom.  Truthfully, it was a long time coming.  There are many resources available for your Word Study unit and maybe that’s part of the problem.  What list should you use? How many words should you teach each week? Do I have to have a Word Wall? Are my words big enough to see? Why don’t my students know their sight words???
       The questions can go on and on.  Well, this unit answers them all for you.  

I made this unit adaptable for grades K-2.  The words get progressively harder and you can add or take away words as needed. This unit uses Fry words starting with the first 100 most commonly found sight words in print and  moves on to the next 100 Fry words. 

Click on any picture to take you to the unit.  Be sure to add it to your wish list if your not ready to purchase today! 

 Thanks for stopping by! If you love it, PIN it! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Friends - Behavior Rap With Arlene

                                    Get the Whole Class Participating with a Behavior Rap

I am so excited to be a guest blogger for Randi today. My name is Arlene Sandberg and I have finally retired from 33 years of teaching and 4 more years as an Education Consultant. I have taught all over the United States including Hawaii and Alaska as well as overseas in Seoul, South Korea. Married to an Army officer gave me so many new opportunities to grow as an elementary teacher as I hardly taught the same grade twice. I also taught Special education and finally in my last 9 years in Anchorage, Alaska I was an ESL Resource Teacher/Specialist in Title I schools. So at the age of 63 I decided to start a blog and open up a store on Tpt this past February. I thought it would be a great part-time job sharing my knowledge and best practices that I had gained over the last 37 years. What was I thinking???!!!!! I had no idea what I was getting into and what my husband thought would be a nice hobby has turned into a full-time labor of love. I love connecting with teachers and creating materials that will help teachers make a difference for their students.

I loved working in a Title I school but the challenges are overwhelming and stressful. I only got to see the most  limited proficient students in my learning center in the mornings as I traveled to 5 other schools in the afternoons. Today there are struggling readers and ESL students in every classroom. Many are afraid to take risks and participate in class. So I started to write plays, poems and chants that related to themes and content areas where it was a lot safer for them to participate. I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to see their faces light up as they acted out the chants and wanting to do them over and over again. We all know that young students in grades K-2  need to move around as their attention spans are shorter than those in the grades 3 and up. So as part of my Back to School packets I wrote 2 Raps. My "I Can Behave Rap!" was especially written for students in grades K-2. It is an Echo Rap where the class is divided into 2 groups and the 2nd group echos what the 1st group says. When learning the rap the teacher says the line and the whole class echos the same line. After they are familiar with it I add some actions to it. It is a fun activity to add to how you teach about the classroom rules. I hope you will enjoy teaching it to your students when you return to school.
You can download these raps by clicking on the picture below:

You can find other free poems and chant at my blog LMN Tree

or by clicking on my button and click on Freebies at the top of the page.

It's LMN Tree

Thank you for making a difference for the students in your classrooms.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Carolina Girls Blogger Meet-Up

I am so ridiculously excited to announce that we are planning a big ol’ Carolina meet-up…y’all! ;) And no…not just for bloggers…stalkers other teacher friends are welcome to join! :) We are planning on meeting at some delicious restaurant where we can gab for a few hours about all things school! Poor people won’t know what hit them! I can’t wait to meet everyone!!!

So, If you will be in the Columbia area on September 15, I would love to see you there! I know this is still 2 months away, and we are still in the beginning stages of planning, but I wanted to give you PA-LENTY of time to put it on your calendar! Time and location will be announced once we have a general idea of how many people to expect.
Please head over to Second Grade Shenanigans and leave a comment under Hope’s Carolina Blogger Meet-Up Post {HERE}.
Please make sure that you leave your email address so that we can contact you with further details!
Is it bad that I am already excited?!? Love my blogging/blog stalker buddies! :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Classroom Organization & Decor

I hope that you are enjoying your summer.  I just returned from a week long vacation in Myrtle Beach.  It was beautiful and relaxing.  I must add though that there's no place like home.  I was so excited to see my own bed and my dogs! 

I'm sure many of you are busy little teachers getting ready for next year already.  It is my hope that  I can help you out and make your life a little easier.  I have created some classroom themed items to get you cute and organized all at the same time.  Click on any picture to check out my newest items. 

I have also posted matching classroom alphabets so be sure to check those out too.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Friends - Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives

Hi everyone!  I'm Mary from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives.  I am so excited to be guest blogging for Randi!  I'm an early childhood teacher and have spent the last 7 years bouncing between Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade.  I'm making the move back to kindergarten next year so...I've been blog stalking, Target shopping, and kinder talking for pretty much the entire summer break! :)  One of the things I've been thinking about this week are my favorite read alouds for the beginning of school.  I'm a huge fan of The Kissing Hand, Chrysanthemum, and Pete the Cat!  But I also LOVE reading the story of Elmer the elephant!  Who doesn't love a patchwork elephant, right?  He has always been a favorite amongst my little ones.

Isn't that Elmer plush the cutest thing ever?? Love it!

You could use this story to spark a discussion on uniqueness and why it is ok to be different, for a color unit, or simply in conjunction with the letter E.  There are also tons of adorable art projects you could make using colored construction paper squares or strips or colored tissue paper. 

I've made a simple "Patchwork Elephant" coloring activity to share with you.  There are two pages- the first is just a simple free-style coloring handout and the second is a specific color by the code with number words and color words.  Click on the image to download.

Thanks to Randi for allowing me to guest blog today.  I hope you'll stop by my blog and say hi!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Building a Classroom Community

Even though it's summer, my brain doesn't seem to understand...I've been thinking about things from years past that I know I want to do again next year.  One of the things I tried this year was my "Our Family" unit that I started the first day of school.
I posted the blank board instead of the ones with pictures for privacy reasons.

It's so important to set an atmosphere of safety and family in your classroom.  The way you make your class feel is how they will respond while in your classroom.  Think about it, you don't act the same way dressed up at church as you do eating at a restaurant.  Your expectations in every place you go are different.

I've always said that when my students walk through my classroom door, first and foremost, they know it's a safe place where they are loved.  They also know that I expect their best and nothing less.  Building this environment is not easy especially when we all come from such diverse backgrounds.  One thing that helped build our classroom family from the first day of school was my "Our Family" board at our carpet area.  At our school open house, I sent a note asking for a family picture with as many family members in it as possible.  Students brought in their family pictures for the first 2-3 weeks of school and we added them one by one to our board.  Each student was given the chance to stand in front of the class and explain who was in the photo and answer questions about their family.  Not only did they enjoy sharing about their family, it gave everyone a common ground to start from.  It became a type of ice breaker for students to talk to one another and ask questions.  As an added bonus, I was able to learn about their families quickly too.  It's hard sometimes to piece together family dynamics of students and sometimes this is the key to understanding a students needs.  If they spend most of their time at grandmas house, that's something that I need to know.  If they share a bedroom with 4 other siblings, that is also something I need to know. This was also a great way to incorporate information about myself which is always so exciting for the kiddos.  I think they love it so much because it lets them see that you are human.

I would love to hear the things you do to build your classroom family!  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Friends - Meet Nicole

Hello!  I'm Nicole from Teaching With Style!  Thanks for letting me guest post today!  Right now I am working on finishing up my ESOL endorsement.  The school I have been working at for the past 5 years has 70% dual language learners, so I have some tricks up my sleeve for teaching all students!

The textbook for my current course is Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners: The SIOP Model.  In the SIOP model, teachers develop lessons with specific SIOP Features: Preparation, Scaffolding, Grouping Options, Integration of Processes, Application, and Assessment.

Each lesson begins with the content and language objectives.  In order to reach language learners, as well as multiple intelligences, instead of basically stating these objectives, a teacher needs to write them or post them for students to be able to see and refer back to throughout the lesson.  In my school, we call these Learning Targets.

This year we started out by posting our targets for math and reading only.  As the year went on, we added ELD targets.  Next year, we will be required to post targets for content areas as well: social studies, science, and health.  Even though it is required, I feel that it is good teaching.  When I am sitting in a professional development training, I want to know why I am there and how the information will pertain to me.  Kids are the same.  They want to know why they are learning it and how it can be applied to their lives.  And my stating the objectives, it helps keep everyone focused on the real intent of the lesson, not some side tangent that happens halfway through.  The learning target chart can act as a re-direction tool if necessary.

You can grab my Learning Target freebie from Teachers Pay Teachers, or you can head to my blog and snag a copy from Google Docs.

Thanks for hosting me, Randi!
photo of Teaching With Style

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Mean Green Pencil Machine

Attention teachers! Listen up...I am one lucky gal!  I just received this pencil sharpener in the mail from Classroom Friendly Supplies and it's going to change my life.  I know, you're skeptical...so was I. 

Until I started sharpening the cheapo pencils that usually go into the pencil sharpener but never ever come back out.  You know the ones. They're all shiny and sometimes even glittery.  The little ones bring them to you all hopeful and excited about a new pencil.  You smile and put it into the pencil sharpener and then you turn the handle and turn and turn and turn.  Only to find out that you have to dash their dream and explain to them that this pencil isn't going to sharpen.  

If you're a teacher or have worked in a classroom you know that I'm not exaggerating. I wish that I was.  I have spent countless hours sharpening pencils in my life.  If anyone ever makes the mistake of asking me if I need any help, I immediately send them to the pencil sharpener to get a head start on sharpening.  I also happen to be a pencil hoarder and have 100's maybe thousands of pencils.  It's crazy I know but I have this adorable little container from Lowe's 

that I store my pencils in and it truly brings me happiness.  I have this container filled to the top and I also have 2 gallon Ziploc bags filled with pencils too.  I usually stock up during the summer when/if Staples has their penny sales.  Don't judge.  It just makes me happy.  

Back to the topic at hand, the LAST PENCIL SHARPENER YOU WILL EVER NEED TO BUY.  Seriously, this little retro looking pencil sharpener just plain works.  It was designed by a teacher for teachers and that right there should be enough for you to give it a chance Troy Decoff is the owner and founder of this sharpener which can be found at  Classroom Friendly Supplies

It's summer around here so I had to go on a hunt to find some pencils.  Oddly enough, I was able to find your classic number 2 pencils and some super cheap Christmas pencils.  Perfect. Here is my journey in pictures. 
Here he is.  I'm naming him the "Mean Green Pencil Machine". 

My random pencil collection.  The plastic box easily slides out to empty shavings. 

You don't have to, but you can clamp it down to any surface that has a lip.  The little thing-a-ma-jig twists up and down to adjust for size. I think this is a nice added bonus. As much as I move furniture around in my room this is actually a relief to not have to commit to screwing a pencil sharpener down. 

Here is how you start sharpening. The Mean Green Pencil Machine has a pull out part that clasps the pencil. See how the pencil is staying where it belongs?

Now, you can hold the pencil sharpener with one hand and turn with the other hand.  You don't  have to hold the pencils. The Mean Green Pencil Machine does all the work! It slowly pulls the pencil in to the base and that's when you know it's done.  Please excuse my sweatpants. It's summer~need I say more?

Not only did it sharpen various cheap pencils, EVERY pencil wrote without snapping the point.  It's hard to explain, but not only did it sharpen the pencil, it made it a strong sharpened pencil.  Hmmm...I know that sounds odd, but it's as though it left the lead thick enough to actually write too! Imagine that :) 

So there you have it, the last pencil sharpener you will ever need.  You can grab yours HERE

If you're still not convinced, you can watch videos HERE or read other reviews HERE.  

*Please note, I was not paid to review this product. I volunteered to do this review because this  product works.*

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