Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's that time of year...

It's coming...

The back to school season is steadily approaching.  August means back to school and back to school shopping.

No. No. No. No!

I'm waiting on the magical Target sale when spiral notebooks are incredibly cheap and composition notebooks are two for a dollar.   To be fair, having worked at a Title 1 elementary school, I'm aware lots of the supplies do need to come from my own pocket so I might as well get as many supplies as I can for cheap.

With the plethora of back to school print and television ads, I'm pleased to announce another:

Yes, 20% off all products for a flash 48 hour sale :)  

Stock up!


I recently sold my first customized teacher name plate on TpT and couldn't be more thrilled.  In the past I've only made these for coworkers, so it was exciting to get to branch out.  I did learn I priced the item too low because I didn't factor in enough for I lost a few dollars in my first sale.  Live and learn!  I've increased the price to factor in shipping to the East Coast (and Canada).

The buyer's original idea didn't work out but luckily we were able to collaborate to create an idea that I love.  More importantly, she loves it too!  She complimented me on my professionalism, which is much appreciated.

I finished the board this morning and am sending it off to the East Coast.

My next task is making myself a new board for my new classroom.  After five years with my old one and students constantly adding stickers to it, it's time for a change.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Math Taboo

One of my favorite math centers is math taboo.  It's a great way to practice vocabulary, incorporate movement, and get the students talking about math.

My fifth graders loved this fun challenge and it's nice to know that others enjoy it as well.  Since my dream team from last year is all going our separate ways, I made versions for their new grade levels for their upcoming students.

 I made fourth and third grade sorts as well, which you can snag here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh Technology

I love technology but sometimes it fails. Last summer I had a hard drive crash and lost a lot of teaching materials.  I tried every possible rescue option, but it simply was lost.  Many of the materials weren't backed up elsewhere (like dropbox) and I've painfully learned my lesson.

However, there is a silver lining.

I did find paper copies of nine different teacher guides while sorting through my teacher materials.  I'm retyping them and revising to ensure that they're up to my standards.  Teacher guides that I made a few years ago need some revision, plain and simple.  As I've learned more, I've taken this knowledge and poured it back into my products.

The upcoming teacher guides are:

The Bad Beginning (#1 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Reptile Room (#2 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Wide Window (#3 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Miserable Mill (#4 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Austere Academy (#5 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Vile Village (#7 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Hostile Hospital (#8 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
The Carnivorous Carnival (#9 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
Brian's Winter (a sequel to Hatchet)
The River (a sequel to Hatchet) 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (#1)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2)

All guides will be available within the coming weeks on TpT!  You can follow my store and get emails from TpT as soon as I upload products.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fact and Opinion

Differentiating between facts and opinions is a concept some of my students struggle with.  Often times they would claim a statement is a fact because to them, it is true.  Based on many, many conversations and reflecting on these teachable moments, I have my students do a "fact check" before determining if a statement is a fact or an opinion.

To be a fact, the statement must: 
-be correct
-be able to be proven, observed, or measured

To be an opinion, the statement expresses a belief.  Even if the statement is true for an individual or a group, unless it's true for everyone, it's not a fact.

This seemed to help clear up some of the confusion.

One activity I like to use is FCRR's fact and opinion football game.  As extensions, I have students write out their own statements for their teammates to sort.

I used this activity in summer tutoring today with great success until...

My helper showed up. 

I've been having a great time tutoring.  It's teaching, but much more relaxed.  I'm focused on skills and what my student needs.  There are notions of just opening a home school that flutter around in my mind until I realize how much "help" I'd have from my fur children...and that dream quickly vanishes.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Percy!

August 18th is Percy Jackson's birthday and that calls for a celebration!  So bust out some blue cupcakes and head on over to my TpT store for 15% off all Percy (and co) products.  Teacher guides, sorts, and chronological order sorts are included for The Lightning Thief, the Sea of Monsters, the Titan's Curse, the Battle of the Labryinth, the Last Olympian, the Lost Hero, the Son of Neptune, the Mark of Athena, the Red Pyramid, the Throne of Fire, and The Serpent's Shadow!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Classroom Library

This year is the first year I actually have to organize my classroom library.  I'm excited and a little terrified about this daunting task.

My expected end result is something like this:

But on a larger scale (and with a polka dot rug of course!)

I want to see what books are at my school and in my classroom before I begin hauling over boxes.  I want to meet my students and learn their book levels before stocking my shelves so I know what books to bring for which students. 

I did revise my checkout list:

Which you can snag for free here!  (Just please give feedback)

I will be organizing my library by AR level using this super helpful website.  To make my life easier, I am putting sticky labels on the inside cover with the AR quiz number, AR level, and a helpful return to Ms. Vice sticker (just in case).

I have some super cute striped bins that I'll be using to sort by AR level (and author).

Some other ideas for your classroom library:

1) Using plastic bins, color code for informational and literature.  

You can find bins at dollar stores, then use spray paint to make them match :)

2) You can also use these plastic bins to color code by AR, DRA, or lexile level.  That way students know which books are "just right" for them!

3) You can also organize thematically:


4) Use stickers on the spine labels to color code your books with your management system.  I'll be using AR levels but you can do DRA, lexile, author, etc.

Of course, you'll want to make your classroom library an interactive place where students want to be. 

One of my favorite ways to do this is with a quote wall:

Black butcher paper (or poster board), cute border, and metallic sharpies = perfect place for students to record their favorite quotes from their books.  In doing so, they're encouraging others to read that book as well!

I also want to make this print:

Because who doesn't love a Harry Potter reference?

Good luck!