Sunday, August 16, 2015

Room reveal and my thoughts on second grade teachers

It's been a little while since I've had time to post here on my blog.  We started inservices almost two weeks ago now and the students came last week for three days.  I have an adorable class.  Quite a few of them admitted that they were very excited about school starting again!!  Before school started, we had a meet and greet for students and parents to meet their teachers.  I met all but ONE of my students that night.  That's how you know it will be a great year with lots of parental involvement.  

Before the excitement of meeting parents and students, I took a few photos of my classroom to share.  Now I've seen photos of super cute rooms with loads of decorations and compared to those mine is plain but functional.  It works for me though and that's all that matters right??  

A look from my desk towards the front of the room.....

I use groups every single day in my room.  Each student in a group has a job as shown on the chart below.  My leader is the person who gets to go first during games and centers.  The supply person picks up needed supplies from me to distribute to the group.  The person labeled center cleaner is responsible for cleaning up the center when center time is over and placing it back into the cart.  Lastly the absent folder person is responsible to make a folder containing handouts for each person who is absent at their table.   Next to my group job chart is our homework board.

 In this photo you can see my cabinet, calendar and centers cart.  Due to lack of space in my room, all of our centers are stored in the trays.  During center time, we take out the trays and place them onto the desks in each group.  My students rotate around the room sitting in the desks to work at each center.   I only have three centers going at one time.  In order to make it work in my room with six groups I have two copies of each center so that as students rotate they see all three centers each time we work in them.

Here is the view of the front of my room.   You can see my book buckets under the laptop on the right.  I have library books placed in three different spots around my room based on AR levels.

At our school, our mascot is the Broncos.  If all students are present on a specific day, we receive a letter to spell out broncos and once we spell the entire word, students receive a free recess.

Each desk was set up with a folder of parent paperwork as well as a treat and newsletter for students to get to know me.

 Meet and greet went really well and the first three days of school flew right by me.  However, one moment on the second day of school had me thinking about the second grade teachers.  

I like to start with some back to school games on the first few days when I keep my homeroom all day.  On the morning of our second day together, I gave my students the "teacher" word builder worksheet from this set.

I allowed my students to work quietly for 10 minutes and then each student was allowed to say one word that they created from the letter tiles.  So often you hear teachers complain about what the teachers before them have not done, what the students did not learn, or how far behind the students are compared to where teachers think they should be. 

But my students totally rocked this activity.....they were awesome!!  Here's a picture of our board after we finished sharing.  They could have shared quite a few more words but I stopped them after each person had a turn to share. 

Thanks for reading along!!  Here's to a great first full week!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bump Game Centers

Hey guys!!  I'm dropping by to tell you that I added a new product to my store tonight!!  I have finished my Multiplication Bump Games packet to match my Multiplication Memory Centers!!  Now to finish my task cards and I'm all set!  

With two hours left in the TPT sale, you will want to hurry if you want to get it for a special low price!

Check it out here!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It - July 27

Three weeks in a row to link up for Monday Made It is a miracle for me!! I enjoy linking up with 4th grade Frolics each week to share what I've been working on.  I feel that it helps to hold me accountable so I don't just laze around all summer doing nothing!

 It's been a great summer but this is my last full week off and I've still got so much to do!  Unlike last week when I had five "made its" this week I only have a couple.  

A few coworkers and I got together to play around with decorating cakes.  It wasn't any kind of official class although we all bought the Wilton Cake Course kits just to have all that we needed.  We had so much fun enjoying each other's company and decorating cup cakes and cakes.  

My cake was a bit crooked and I didn't do too well on the icing but my family sure loved it!  

This was my favorite cupcake and a total "happy accident".  

Lastly here is a picture of all the different cupcakes I made using the different tips.  They are the best but that's why I'm NOT a cake decorator.  Some of my coworkers though made amazing designs.  I, on the other hand, didn't stop visiting long enough to really concentrate!  

For my second made it this week, I've been working on a project for the better part of July.  You see, we teach multiplication facts at our school by covering a set a week through our lessons, our centers, and our homework.  At the end of the week, students are tested on that set of multiplication facts as well as the ones previously learned.  However, I've always had a hard time finding centers that focus on only one set of facts at a time so I decided to make some!  

The group of centers that I finished first are my Multiplication Memory Centers. 

This set comes with EIGHT centers.  Each center includes 4 pages of memory cards for a specific set of facts.  I have used a variety of different themes throughout the kit.  These themes will match with the BUMP cards that I am just now finishing up.  

I spent some time last week printing, cutting and laminating all eight centers (actually 16 because I printed it twice).  I can't wait to use this with my students in a few weeks!  

You can pick up the Multiplication Memory Centers Kit here!

Want to check out the quality of my work first?  I'm okay with that.  Click here for a sample from the kit!

I hope you have a great week!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How I run my classroom library

I have so much to do so that I'm ready for the start of school.  I've started working in my room a lot this week.  Since I'm in the same room I was in last year and teaching the same grade and subject, a lot of what I did last year is going to work again this year.  That's great because all I have to do is pull it back out or put it back up on the wall and I'm ready to go.  

Here's some of what I've gotten finished....

Book buckets are out, labeled and filled.  

I put up my calendar and silently cried that summer is so close to being over.  It seems like just yesterday we were telling our students bye.  

Excuse the dark photo but I got new blinds and with that, my sweet mother in law made me six new curtains.  It has really freshened up my little old room!

One of the things that worked so well for me last year was my classroom library.  In the year's past, I've had library book buckets and plenty of books for the students to choose from but I was afraid terrified of losing my collection to a student who was a bit forgetful.  You know the sweet ones who bring book after book home and you never see them again.  No, they don't mean to take all of your books but they just forget that they have one and they get a second, a third, a fourth, your.whole.stinkin.library.......

Out of my fear, I did not allow my students to take home my books and therefore, I found that most times, my chapter books were not being used.  Remember, I'm in a departmentalized third grade so if they can't take the book with them, they only have a few minutes in my class to read it.  This was not working so.....

Last year, after much searching, I found an online program that helps me keep track of my books and prevents sweet Suzy from taking them all home.  

Here's how my library works -

When we have free time, a student goes to the shelf and picks a book in their AR level.  Once they chosen their book, they head over to the laptops and log into Booksource Classroom Organizer.  Using this program they can check out their favorite book and take it home!  When they are finished reading and have taken their AR test on the book, they go back to the laptops and return the book through the computer.  This frees up the book and their name so that they can get another one.  Until they return it on the computer they can not get a new one.  Once their book is returned, they place their book in the bucket that is CLEARLY marked in our room as book return.

At the end of the day, my class librarian will place the books that are in the book return back into their correct buckets.  

In the state of Louisiana we can not put students' full names and other identifying info online or into any unapproved program.  I use my student's id numbers instead so that my students can use those to log in.  

So what system works for you?  Do you use an online program for your library as well?  I'm always looking for new ideas if you want to share in the comments.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Made It - July 20

Last night I was at a church meeting and I went to put a date into my phone only to realize that I had only two full weeks left of summer.  Two weeks, ya'll!!  Where did the summer go?  It's gone!  These next two weeks will be so full of projects and lesson planning that I can almost say summer is over.  In one way, that makes me sad because I know how crazy life is once school starts but in another way, I'm a little excited about it because I get to see all my wonderful coworkers again.  Anyone else feel that way?  

Well I spent quite a bit of time in the last couple of weeks at the media center making things for my room and I figured it was a great day to share all of them with you!  SOOO....I'm joining up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her......

There's always so much to do in order to get ready for school each year.  Last summer as a last minute move I went from fifth grade math to third grade math.  This was totally my choice as I love the "younger ones" and I was very excited to be able to fill an open position at my school.  However, the new classroom needed painting and the room itself needed LOTS of work so I spent most of the time doing those things instead of cutesy-ing up my classroom.  Is that even a word??  It is now! 

This year, I'm staying in the same room, same grade, same subject so I have had more time to play around with my theme and my ideas on how to set up my room.  Here's a few of the things I've been working on......

I love my new book return sign.  Yes it is large but I can't tell you how many times last year I heard, "Mrs. R, where I do put this book at for the library?"  If they can't see this ya'll, it's time to shut it down!  Seriously though, it's cute and fits the nautical theme of my room.  Of course my book return bucket is right under the arrow. 

This is my job's more than a job board as it takes up half the back wall but I like it.  Every student will have a job and the jobs will change each week.  I'm a little nervous about the commitment to the job board but I think it will work out fine.  One of my jobs should have been "changing jobs" but I am too picky about how the wall looks.

I have anchors that I plan to write each child's name on.  The hats will have a small velcro at the very bottom and the anchor will velcro to the hat.  Each Friday, hopefully, I'll move them all to the next job.  I'm just being real, ya'll.  You know it happens!  

The title banner was made by me but the sailor hats are adorable and can be purchased at Teachers Pay Teachers here.   They have editable text so that you can change them to whatever you want to put.  They were perfect for my job board/wall.

While at the media center, I decided to make some title banners for math projects that we do each year.  I display these out in the hall and usually staple up some letters as a title real quick when I put up the projects.  You know that you have been there too right?!?  Yep, thought so.  Instead this year, I can just pull out my banner and voila, I look semi-professional!

This one is for my ladybug bulletin board right at the beginning of the year when we learn our two multiplication facts.

Around late October/early November we make houses with our fact families and I display those in the hall.  It's not a seasonal thing but I really like the colors on this title banner!  Excuse the mess under it.  

This one is by far my least favorite.  I used too busy of a background for the letters and I will probably redo it but this is for our Christmas present arrays project in December.  

Last year I found myself saying, "Show it 4 ways" ALL.THE.TIME.  We show how to do multiplication 4 ways.  We show our numbers 4 ways.  It seems like everything is done 4 ways so I made this chart to work along with the students or to display student work on.  I'll keep you posted on if it works out!

 I had shared about my book bucket labels but had not been up to school yet when I shared them on a Monday made it.  

Here's what they looked like on the last blog post.....

....and here's what they look like now.....

I also have another set of shelves in the front of the class with books 3.8 and up but I figured you got the idea from these.  I would love to say that my buckets are all lined up during school and not the jumbled mess that they are here but I would be lying.  These are kid-friendly shelves and the buckets get lots of love so they usually look just like this all the time.  

Speaking of my library, I will be posting tomorrow about the library system I use for student check in and check out.   Stop by then to see how I keep all 250+ books organized and accounted for!  Until then, have a great evening!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Whew, summer is just flying by!  I can't believe that in less than a month I will be back in school!  Although I've worked a LOT on organization and decor in my room, I REALLY need to work on my curriculum materials.  We switched curriculums for math this year and I really need to get working on some new things for my kiddos. 

Today I don't plan on throwing back very far.  In fact, I am throwing back to last week!  lol.... Last week my boys attended Winshape Camp in a community near where we live.  They had an amazing time and it totally wore us out!  Because my oldest was volunteering at the camp, we had to be there before 7 a.m. each morning (we live 30 minutes away) and the camp ended at 5 p.m. each evening.  I was able to get a LOT of work done both in my classroom and in the media center all week but those 5:30 mornings were awful!!  Here are a couple pictures of them at camp!

Both of my boys shooting arrows on family day.  Archery was my younger son's favorite session all week!

Even though archery was his favorite, he really had three GREAT sessions.  Wacky science was so much fun.  On Family Day, they were able to launch their own rockets using baking soda, vinegar and a cork to hold the pressure in the coke bottle for a little while.

Oh those scientific was a class with LOTS of boys.  Can you tell??

His last session each day was construction.  They built things with marshmallows and pretzel sticks, legos, Kinex, and popsicle sticks.  This picture was also taken on Family Day and both of the sweet builders are my boys.   

Have your kids attended a day camp this summer?  Was it Winshape?  We LOVE our Winshape!  Have a great day!  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Made It

With both of my boys at Winshape day camp today, I was able to work in our media center all day long.  Speaking of media centers, do you guys have a media center where you teach?  Our center is filled with a few thousand die cuts, laminators, printers, poster makers, etc., etc., etc.  Boy was I in heaven ALL day long.  They even supply the scrapbook paper for projects for our classrooms. 

 Anyways, this post is not about how great our media center is, it is supposed to be about what I made.  So this week I'm linking up with 4th grade Frolics for her Monday Made It!!

I have two projects that I made today - well if truth be told, one is a complete ready to use made it and one is almost finished.  

For my first project, I made a set of privacy folders.  These folders are placed at each desk in every group so that when students have work that is graded, they can put them up to prevent wandering eyes.  Our media center loves us so much that they already have these pre-cut which is AMAZING.  If you are interested in making these on your own, the dimensions are 9 inches wide by 11 inches tall for the sides and 10 inches wide by 11 inches tall for the middle.  It is made of thick white posterboard with a type of painter's tape to hold it together. 

This is my in progress shot.  I would lay the three pieces side by side taping the seams together.  Next, I decorated each privacy folder with a wave and a ship since I have a nautical theme.  Remember when I said that our media center even supplies the scrapbook paper?  Oh the choices were totally overwhelming so I have MANY MANY different designs! 

After decorating all of them, I laminated each one so that they will hopefully hold together for a few years!  Here is a sample of the finished product with the sides extended.  

I just LOVE how they turned out!


My second project is almost finished.   I worked on book bucket labels  for my classroom.  For the last year, my library has been labeled with handwritten numbers on plain white paper which is fine but I really wanted something that matched my decor.  

I LOVE my classroom library.  Thanks to garage sales, local library donations and Scholastic book orders our class library has over 300 books in it!!  It takes up multiple shelves in our classroom.  Throughout the last year, I've bought plastic boxes from the Dollar Tree (LOVE that store) to put our books in.  

They never really had enough boxes so I would buy all that they had and wait until the next holiday season to buy some more.  Little did I know that you can order your Dollar Tree items from their website with free shipping!!  Did you know that??  You can order these buckets here.  Each bucket contains one level of books for our Accelerated Reader program.  

SO....I had the buckets but my labels were boring....remember that scrapbook paper I used for my privacy folders?  I used that same paper for frames on my labels.  Then I di-cut each number and laminated them. 

 I'm so excited about these!!  It will give some consistency to my library and will allow me to trash those awful handwritten ones.  Seriously my handwriting is atrocious!

I still need to go to school and affix them to the buckets but for now, I'm done!!  Thanks for reading along on my Monday Made It!  Hope you have a wonderful week!