Friday, July 27, 2012

Class Cash Storage and The 10 Classroom Commandments

This year, my team and I are implementing a Class Cash behavior management system. At the beginning of each week, each student will be given $10. We wanted a system that works for us, the teachers, as much as it does for our kiddos. Knowing how hectic a day in the classroom can be/feel, we didn't want to have to be handing out class money every single day or multiple times a day. The $10 given to students is basically a credit for the week (having planners signed, homework turned in, etc..) Any time that a student misbehaves or does not do what is expected, they "hand over" a dollar. Instead of being handed money throughout the day or having it pile up on my desk, this is what I came up with. I used a shower caddy that was given to me by a teacher when I graduated high school. She said they came in super handy, and I've finally found the perfect use for it! I had $100 picture notepad and simply took one sheet and wrapped it around the shower caddy (then use packing tape to hold it in place). When a student owes me money, he/she will set their dollar bill(s) in the caddy, which is located near my desk and safely away from student traffic.

One of my dear friends gave this to me the other day, and I loved it so much! It's on a canvas, so it's super sturdy. It's hanging in the middle of my announcements board, so students see it when they first walk into the classroom. I just had to share:

-Thou shall respect thy teacher and classmates
-Thou shall treat everyone equally
-Thou shall raise thy hand to speak
-Thou shall listen carefully
-Thou shall be willing to learn and ask questions
-Thou shall be patient and wait they turn
-Thou shall be thankful for recess (all 15 mins of it!)
-Thou shall be pleasant and remember to smile
-Thou shall be honest and not cheat
-Thou shall be responsible and do thy homework

Tissue- Paper Flowers!

I have always loved the way that Japanese Lanterns look. I've contemplated the choice to buy them in various stores but could never really bring myself to justify spending the money on them. Then one of my good friends learned how to create these flowers made out of tissue paper that are the size of a Japanese Lantern! After having a QUICK lesson from her, I set out to create my own (seen here!). Want to know how to make your own? It's so easy, and I really mean that!

1. Decide what colors you would like to make your flowers. Note: You can do multi-colored! Polka-dots or patterns typically do not look as nice because it only has print on one side, thus affecting the overall appearance of the flower.

2. Buy some tissue paper (I got mine from Dollar General). You will need AT LEAST 10 sheets of tissue paper and AT MOST 12 sheets (makes it look more full).

3. Lay tissue paper one on top of the other.

4. Starting with one end, take all sheets (whatever number you used) and gently fold it over about an inch.

5. Fold again but this time go the other way. Continue until entire lenth of tissue paper is folded (should look like a closed up accordian).

6. Place a large paper clip in the middle of the closed up accordian-folded style tissue paper.

7. Tie fishing line to end of paper clip (to hang up later)

8. Take a pair of scissors and cut a round edge on each side of your tissue paper stack.

9. Holding tissue paper near the paperclip, gently start pulling each layer upward so that they seperate from one another. About mid-way through, start pulling the bottom side downward.

10. There you have it! Tissue paper flowers!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

All Aboard for Common Core!

I'm sure you're all gearing up for Common Core, much like my school in Kansas. I have a wonderful math website for you to check out! You can find ideas, lessons, and resources by grade level and domain (ex: Measurement and Data). Click here to view the website. For those of you that might not be familiar with the Math Common Core, here's a little way to help keep those darn domains, clusters, and standards straight.

Grade: 2
Content Area: Math

Domain: Measurement and Data  (think of this as the heading or topic)

Cluster: Work With Time and Money (sub-topic)

Standard: Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and cent sign appropriately  (think of this as all of the "files" for working with time and money)

I went through and created new folders for each topic. For example, I teach 3rd grade, so I typed a folder for every Operations and Algebraic Thinking topic (3.OA1, 3.OA2, etc...) and all other domains. That way, I can easily slip lessons that I create into those folders and they are nice and organized. Use or lose, but that's how I chose to organize it on my computer.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Start Your Day the Right Way!

 Mandisa -...
When I heard the Good Morning Song by Mandisa, I immediately fell in love with it!  It's such an upbeat, fun song that can't help but put you in a fantastic mood. So then I thought: I should play this for my students in the morning!! I first heard it on K-Love (nationwide Christian radio program), and they play it at random times throughout each day for listeners. If you've never heard the song, you should definitely take a listen (click on the link above)! Let me know what you think!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Oh Pinterest, What Would I Do Without You?!

A year ago, I didn't even know Pinterest existed...then a few months into the school year, our technology specialist opened the door to the WONDERFUL WORLD OF PINTEREST! Oh. My. Goodness. I know you all are aware of how amazing Pinterest is, so I digress. I found a sign in/sign out magnetic board and decided to make my own. Wal-Mart has these small, rectangular magnetic boards for less than $4.00. It comes with magnets a the super-sticky pads if you want to mount it on the wall like I did. This allows me to know where all of my students are at all times. Their magnets will be on "Our Room, Bathroom, Nurse, or With Another Teacher." Instead of using students' pictures, I labeled magnets with each student's number. Lsat year, I had the numbered magnets up on my whiteboard and used them all of the time to group students, call on a student, etc... What the students never found out is that all of the girls magnets are small and the boys are the larger magnets. I did this because sometimes I draw magnets with my eyes closed or while I'm looking away, and I can choose whether the boy/girl combination that I want. ;) That way, my students never caught on and it always appeared to be random. I'm excited because now I still have the handy magnets up (not taking space on my board) but they have are multi-purpose now!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Name that Board!

I can't decide what to call this board! Bravo Board? Proud Wall? Brag Board? If you have any ideas, please share! I've started spending a little time in my classroom, and this is one of the projects that I completed this week. Instead of having a "Student of the Week" this year, our entire third grade team is creating an area where students can clip a picture/drawing/artwork up that goes with a monthly theme. For example, August will be "Summer." Students will bring in something that pertains to summer that can easily be clipped up on the board. I thought that ribbon would look cute to design "frames" for each student, so I headed on over to Hobby Lobby (gotta love that place!). It just so happened that they were having a sale on ribbon, which is just too much of a coincidence for me to pass up! ;) I stapled each side of the frame up (yes, one by one), but it went up fairly quickly. I finished the board off with some colorful clothespins that designate each students' frame (it has his or her number on the clothespin). I may add a title that drapes across to show what the theme is that month...for now, this is it though!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Wipe Out!" A Game for Place Value!

I came across this game in a NCTM magazine last week and decided to try it out with a student. It helps develop number sense and better understand expanded form/place value.

I took one calculator for us to share. I asked him to create a three-digit number and tell me what it is. He created the number 745 (which he said was an odd number). I told him that we wanted to "wipe out" the tens column so that it reads as a zero. I wanted to see what he did first without me prompting him, so he verbalized what he was doing with the calculator so I could do the same on mine. At first, he wanted to just subtract 4, but we saw that if we take 745-4 that equals 741. This did not wipe out the four in the tens column like we wanted to do. I reminded him of expanded form for numbers (700 + 40 + 5 = 745), which helped to guide him through his next steps. He subtracted 40 from 745, leaving us with a total of 705, thus successfully wiping out the tens column!

This game can be used for the whole class, with points awarded for students who "wipe out" a digit to read as a zero or disappear completely. Here's another example:

Student A: (enters the number 4,307) Wipe out four (passing calculator to classmate)

Student B: (Enters - 400 = . The display shows 3,907. Realizing something is wrong, she does not score a point. Then she enters the number 5,713) Wipe out 5 (passes calculator back)

Student A: (Enters - 5,000 =. The display shows 713, so a point is awarded.

The game continues back and forth until time is stopped by the teacher.

Choose 3 Ways is a Math Must-Have!

CHOOSE    3    WAYS!
Circle three ways you would like to show your thinking:
                         Draw a Picture                Skip Count              Repeated Addition                        Multiply                   Divide            Make a Table 

 (Word Problem goes here)

Recently, I attended a Math Workshop where I was introduced to the concept of "Choose 3 Ways!" We watched the following video that takes you into a classroom with the teacher who created "Choose 3 Ways." Watch video now! It was extremely helpful to see how she sets up an environment where students are expected to try out at least three different ways to solve a problem. I made a worksheet that is almost identical to hers based on the video (see below). The text box can be changed for various word problems, but I just loved how it got students to think about a math problem in several different ways! Our school computers are currently being worked on, but I will scan in a copy as soon as everything is back up and running at school!

Choose 3 Ways!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Giving My Classroom Library Some Much-Needed Organization

I took quite a bit of time out recently to re-organize my classroom library. After the kiddos left in May, I was left with a bit of a mess book-wise. To tackle this project, I sprawled all of my books out on the floor and got to work placing each book in its' appropriate bin. After all books were finally put back in their bins, I pulled out some Sharpies and labeled every single book with a code. As you can see from the picture, this bin of Chapter Books has been labeled with a red triangle. That way, when a student takes a book from this bin and goes to return it, he or she can easily spot where it goes. Other codes that I used include: squares, happy faces, *, circles, etc... I am hoping that this will be a much better system than just having the bins labeled "Chapter Books, 3rd Grade Chapter Books, Animal Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Animal Character Fiction, Fiction, Series, etc..."

Another tweak to my system will be to have students use their designated clothespin (with class number on it) in the library. The system is simple:
1. Find a book you like
2. Place your clothespin on the tub you borrowed the book from
 3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your own classroom library. I'm looking forward to having a much more organized library this year! Bring on the book-borrowers! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Newest Cricut Creation :)

I am amazed at how much my mind-shift has changed since July hit. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire month of June, without much thought to the coming school year. Wow! How that all changed last week! My to-do lists are growing by the day, and now I'm thinking constantly about my classroom! I put my Cricut machine to work today, making some posters and these super-fun nametags for my students' desks. I snagged a deal at Dollar Tree with the the nametags, and I already had the paper, so these nametags only cost $1.00! I can't wait to get them laminated and placed on the desks! It doesn't take too much to get me excited ;)