Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Morning Check-In

With the morning hustle bustle, sometimes it's easy to forget to ask your students important questions pertaining to their home life. Each morning I stand by my door and greet my kiddos with a "high five, handshake, or hug." This is also when I check their planners to see if mom or dad signed his/her child's planner for the previous day. Since my third graders LOVE to share (who doesn't?!), I decided to post up a daily question outside my room door. While students are waiting to check in with me, they can think of their answer. So far, my students are loving it!  Here are some other questions I plan to use:
-What did you eat for dinner last night?
- What does your family do for fun?
-What is your favorite home-cooked meal?
-Have you ever been on vacation? If so, where?
- What does mom/dad/guardian do for a living?

I'm excited about incorporating these questions int my morning check-in because this also let's students know that they have someone who cares about them. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Paper Station!

Today I completed my paper station for students. I used to simply put ALL (and I truly mean all) extra copies into my "Extra Tub."  As you can imagine, this wasn't always the most organized space or even that easy to navigate through on any level if we're being honest here. I never liked it, but I was determined to fix it this year. In the picture shown above I labeled my new organizer for students to easily turn in their work. In the left side, students will be able to turn in their guided reading work based in their levels (O,W,L,S). The middle section is dedicated to spots for homework, StoryTown tests, in-class reading/math/SS/Social Studies as well as writing samples. The right side is the "Pick Up" station for students to, well, pick up last week's homework, this week's homework, important notes/forms. I like the idea of this area because my kiddos (and I for that matter) will no longer be sorting through random worksheets with the hopes of coming up with the right one. This will eliminate that! 

I can't wait to teach my kiddos how to use this station, so it will make all of our lives easier and more functional. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gearing Up for an Amazing Year!

School season is in full swing. There's just something about going to stores and seeing the out that gets me all kinds of excited! Don't get me wrong: I love me some good ol' fun in the sun, but I cannot help myself when the new school supplies hit the shelves! It doesn't matter if it's simply buying a new notebook or several items...I absolutely, positively CANNOT pass through a store and not buy SOMETHING. It's kind of a problem, but hey, it makes me happy:)

I took a few pictures of my classroom to share as I gear up for the new year and Meet the Teacher Night. My class list won't officially be ready until later this week, but I'm planning on about 23 or 24 students to start the year. Much like many of you, it seems like every time I take one thing off the list, I add 3-5 more. That's just the way it.goes, right?!

As I get more done, I'll post more pictures!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Organization Station!

I chose a section in the back of my room to serve as my students' organization station. This was an area that I have been SO excited to set up, as my previous classroom had virtually no spots to do this in. So far I have reused and repurposed miscellaneous containers (including old Tupperware and Clorox wipe containers) to create the space. The crayons (far left) are stored in 2 clear boxes that can easily picked up for groups to use if needed or storage for those lost crayons we tend to find at the end of a busy day. ;)

This station is set up for students to be able to grab markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue, erasers,  scissors, rulers, highlighters, or dry erase markers quickly without disrupting the class or asking me for the item he/she needs. My helpers of the week will be in charge of sharpening pencils and making sure the entire station is tidy and ready to go each day. This gives my students a chance to be more independent and clears me of being interrupted in the middle of a lesson!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Desk Drawer Organization!

I am in the midst of tackling my desk and its functionality. I FINALLY got my drawers organized in a way that I can easily keep track of office supplies and items I use on a regular basis. Here is a picture of one of my top drawers, which features three tuna cans to hold rubber bands, tacks, and brads (yes, I cleaned them thoroughly of course! I don't even like tuna!! Thanks to Laissezfaire for the tip!)) I keep my extra staples, staple remover, poster markers, district copy slips, tape rolls, whiteout, and push pins here. Each item has a spot of its own. I'm ashamed to say that my drawer didn't look anything like this for the past two years, and it ALWAYS drove me crazy. Better late than never to do something about it!

What I really try to do when I'm organizing a space is look around and reuse or repurpose containers that I already have. You can see down below that the magnet holder box is simply an old sidewalk chalk container, and the clothespins were stored in a basket I had that I wasn't using.

The next picture shows another one of my drawers, where I store clothespins and various cards. It's important to keep thank you notes or blank cards handy when a co-worker or student does something nice or gives you a gift. I absolutely love my colorful cards as well as my W cards. These come in super handy throughout the year!!

Now onto more organizing for the rest of my desk:) I'll be posting more pics of my tricks and tips for the spaces I organize next!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

OWL Binders!

So I've been seeing ADORABLE binder covers all of over the place, and I was just getting ready to print myself off some binder covers when I looked around and saw some extra owls amd scrapbook paper I had on my bookshelf. It was then that it dawned on me that I should just whip my Cricut machine out and make my own! It took only a few minutes before these were thrown together.

I made binders for Student Information, Common Core, Student Data, and Substitute Teacher. I need to get a couple more made for Homework copies, Green Team, STUCO, amd Parent Communication, but this is a start!

I'm linking up with Teaching Heart!
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daily 5 I-Pick Owl Cart!

I finally finished the cart for students to store their books. I cut super sturdy cardboard into pieces and then used fun-colored duct tape to finish the look. Finally I tested out my creation, and it works splendidly! This should be a nice addition to my classroom and will hopefully create more space in students' desks.

I also added the I-PICK chart shown below to the side of my cart:)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We're OWL Excited for 3rd Grade!

Here is the bulletin board featured in the hallway outside my classroom. The letters show up better when you're actually in person, but after looking at it here, I might trace it with a black marker to help them stand out better. For now, this is what it is:) I made a "moon" (hopefully you can tell it's a moon?). When I first put it up and stepped back to take a look, I noticed that my "craters" looked a little like a pizza topping. Maybe I was just getting hungry... oh well! It is what it is!

I originally thought that I could/should make a tree here in the middle, but then I figured that I probably do not have the artistic talent to do that, so I scrapped that idea. It probably would have looked funky anyway with trying to put long tree branches across the sides. That's when I decided on the moon. Owls and moons just seemed to go together. :) Maybe, maybe not, but I went with it.

Note: While trying to staple the ends around this circular beast of a bulletin board, I accidentally put a staple in my thumb. Yes. You read that right... Yowzas! I'm still not really sure how this happened, but one moment I was stapling away and the next I was staring down at this staple stuck right in my thumb. I calmly removed said staple and decided to be a bit more careful as I completed this project. Do be careful out there, fellow staple-happy friends! It's a dangerous job...but somebody's gotta do it!
 I took a chunk of brown paper and cut it into four pieces. Then, with each piece, I lightly crumpled it and stapled it up. I like that it sticks out a little bit, but I have to admit: I've never done tree branches before, but I think they turned out okay. It only took a couple of minutes, so I was a big fan of that!

Finally I added the cute owls to perch on the branches. I am waiting to put my students' names on the owls until my final FINAL class list comes out, but I can easily write them on.

I only put borders on the tops and bottoms because I liked the more "open" feel. I think it would have looked funky for this particular bulletin board to be closed up on the sides.

That's one more thing checked off the list!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Owl Reading Cart

I'm pretty excited because the librarian at our school offered up this wonderful book cart that rolls up free for the first taker. Luckily I was the winner! Here is what I am planning to do with it. First, I took off any old labels that were on it. Then I added these adorable reading owls to it (numbered 1-24). The cart has an identical backside, so that's where the other owls are at. As we have students select their 3-5 books to have on hand at all times for Daily 5, I thought What better place to have my students store their books than on this super handy cart?!! This will help keep my books from being damaged in their desks, and they all have a designated space for storing their books.

I am going to add a piece of cardboard in between each owl to help divide each student's space. When I get that done, I'll post new pictures so you can see the end result!

This is another item that I added to my cart:
Since my students will be able to see any books that other students have "checked out" from my library, I made several of these owl notes (laminated). They say "Please! I noticed you have a book I'd like to check out. When you're done, please see # ___" Disclaimer: I haven't tried this system out yet, but the hope is students will feel like they have a chance at the book they've had their eye on for a while.

Students will write their number on the line with dry-erase marker and stick it in or underneath the book they would like to read next. We'll see how this little experiment goes, but I thought Why not? We have to request holds on books we want from a local library, so why not place a "hold" on a classroom book?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Read Owl about it!

Here are some more pictures of my room! The picture above will be my newsletter and important upcoming events board. It's not done yet, but it's right next to my whiteboard at the front of the room. This makes it handy to refer to and is also nice if students need an extra copy of something they know where to find it. I put everything here that might be coming up: book fairs, field trips, important announcements, etc..

This is one of the first OWL items that I bought:) I loved it then, and I still love it now!

The picture shown above is a sneak peak as to what the area above my desk looks like. I still have to add student birthdays in, but I'm waiting for my lamination to come back for that. :) I chose to put the calendar in this area as well because I know I refer to it a lot too so it's in a handy spot for us all! I hung the tissue paper flowers (green, yellow, and purple) in the upper corner because they add a fun element to the room.

My math bulletin board in not yet complete, but here is a sneak peek into what it currently looks like. The posters feature key words for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I also put a hundreds chart in because we use those A LOT at the beginning of the year. This particular chart is funy to me because it is actually surrounded by planets. Whomever I got this from was really into space, which DEFINITELY does not go with my owl theme. Instead of getting a new hundreds chart, I simply added owl border around it. Ta-da! It's like magic! I found the pink measuring chart from Hobby Lobby. I know it's supposed to go in a little girl's room, but for now, I thought it would be fun to have students record their heights (it's starts at 20 inches) throughout the year.
My Reading bulletin board is simple yet usable. I stapled my chart paper to the board because we use it quite frequently when working on different indicators, so it's at a handy height for me to reach and write on as well as visible for my students. Also, the lower chart is a Character Traits poster that is added to each week based on the characters featured on in our weekly stories.

There will be more pictures posted as I continue to set up my room!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Incorporating Owls into the Daily 5!

We are officially half way through with summer, which means my thoughts are turning more and more back towards school. With that being the case, I usually spend one day a week up at school decorating and working on things in my room. I know once school begins there won't be much time to try some of the cute things all over Pinterest. I'm trying to get things nice and organized before the craziness starts back up!

The picture shown above is the newest picture of my classroom (from my door, showing the back of the room). My sister and niece bought me the owl decorations hanging above each group. They are actually wind spinners, but they were the perfect find for my room! I love them!

This is a picture of what will be my guided reading and Daily 5 system. My school started the Daily 5 (more like Daily 3 because we only incorporated Work on Writing, Read to Self, and Read to Someone). This year we are going to focus on using the Daily 5 within our guided reading program. I will have four groups (OWLS), and the chart helps to show what time and which activity my little owls are to be participating in. I used my Cricut to help make the letters, and in order to fit them onto my small owls, I had to shorten some of the titles. Here is what I made:
-Mrs. W (guided reading groups to meet with me)
- Wow (Work on Writing)
-Self (Read to Self)
-Someone (Read to Someone)
-abc (Word Work)
I am not planning on utilzing the Listen to Reading because I don't have the tools necessary to do so at this time. Maybe that's something I can add in the future. For now, I will proceed with the Daily 4 + guided reading. :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Whooo's Ready for 3rd Grade?!!

I'm so excited to share more pictures of my new room! This is a picture of a segment of the front of my room, near my door. My bookshelf is magnetic, so I am able to utilize the sides of it as well. There are still some details that need to be added, but it's coming along!

Below is a feature bulletin board. We teach art every week, and I thought it would be nice to show off my students' work right where they and anybody else who visits our room can see it. I also plan to hang some artwork up from the ceiling, but this space will be nice and easy to update and change out quickly. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

We're OWL about Writing!

After spending some more time in my room, I just had to share my favorite new bulletin board! I'm all about owls this year (seriously-can they be any cuter?!!), so I thought up this clever little saying for it:) I found the editor's poster at the Supply Closet-watch out though! This baby is 5 1/2 feet long! I love it because my students and I will be able to see it from anywhere in the room. Sooo worth the ten bucks! I found the idea for displaying the various types of writing on pinterest (big surprise!).

More pictures of my classroom to come soon!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Colorful Bulletin Boards

So...I have been working on getting my classroom ready for the new school year. My room is huge, but the entire back and front walls are covered with floor to ceiling bulletin boards. Boo hoo, right? Well, my dilemma came from the bulletin boards being a dull red color. Absolutely nothing in my new colorful owl decor matched the red. I had some fabric already, but instead of paying an arm and a leg for more fabric, I came across some great sales for flat sheets. Yes, the majority of my bulletin board fabrics are actually sheets (SO much cheaper!!)!

Another problem I ran into were the large gaps that existed between each piece of fabric. I initially thought I would need to have at least 3 layers of trim borders around each fabric section. It wasn't until I was standing in the store holding a ton of trim that it hit me: " It seems so silly to spend this much money on trim when I could use that on other things I really do need for curriculum. Why not try something else?" A night or two later, the answer dawned on me: USE PLASTIC TABLECLOTHS! On my next trip to school I took one plastic tablecloth, cut it into 4 long pieces, and proceeded to staple away around each side of my fabric. I bunched and stapled for quite some time, but I'm loving the 3D effect and added color!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Act II: The Shrinking Egg!

We continue to amaze ourselves as young magicians, but we did it again! We mastered yet another egg magic act! This one is called the "Shrinking Egg," and the name will not leave you disappointed. My students took turns pouring Karo Syrup (corn syrup) on top of our shell-less egg. Over night, our once opaque egg turned into a shriveled up mess! It was pretty cool to see this huge change, and my students LOVED feeling the egg.

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Peeps Are...Dissolving?!

Welcome back to our continuation of the Dissolving Peeps Experiment! My students made their Day 3  peep observations. Compare these photos to those of my previous post. :) 

Day 4:

Still bright pink, but starting to get smaller in size.

WHOA! Our poor little peep only has half of his body left!

This looks totally and completely disgusting, but of course, I still had PLENTY of students who offered to eat this peep right up (don't worry: I did NOT allow that to happen!) GROSS!

So fresh and so clean! This little peep has been stripped of its pink-ness but smells great!

My students completed their observations and noted that the vinegar had the biggest chemical reaction to the peep. We were surprised because many of us (myself included!) thought that the Pepsi Max would cause the peep to dissolve the fasted. I loved this experiment because my students looked forward to completing their observations each day and were telling their parents all about it!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Check Out My Peeps!

 I told my class that "I brought my peeps with me to school today," although that one went over their heads:) Their interest was peeked when I pulled them out of the package and discussed our new science experiment that will take place for the rest of the week. My students were given a spreadsheet with Day 1- Day 5 across the top and a box for each ingredient going down the left-hand side. Their job was to observe any changes that occurred within our peeps. Each day, students are to complete their observations. We then discuss our findings with the rest of the class.

Day 1: We set a peep in the following liquids: water, apple juice, vinegar, soda (we did Pepsi Max), and laundry detergent.

Day 2: Here are some pictures from what we've discovered so far:
Almost no change with the water, except giving the water a little pink tint.

The eyes are starting to"melt" or slide down the peep's face.

Lots of changes! Our peep has actually lost part of his body in the vinegar-yikes!

Very stained and pretty spongy.

We have all been surprised with the detergent so far. The pink has been magically wiped away, and it is is really soft to the touch.

Keep an eye out for Days 3-5 to come soon!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We're Magicians: First You See an Eggshell...Now You Don't!

You heard right! My class can now successfully complete (drum roll please)....THE DISAPPEARING ACT! (With an egg that is!) We are trying out some new science experiments, and this one is proving to be a hit! We put a raw egg in a glass bowl and poured vinegar over the top. I placed this under my data projector while we were working on an activity so my students could look up and observe what was happening every once in a while. They were excited with all of the bubbles that were forming around the egg, but they were in for a huge surprise (and so was I, this being my first time doing this and all!).

After sitting for the rest of the day and all night, my students were anxious to see what changes had taken place. They put their Scientist's Goggles on (so to speak) and observed the egg. We noticed that there was a lot of things floating towards the top of the bowl of vinegar. We decided to explore further and touch it. When I rubbed it with my thumb, the shell (or what used to be the shell) came right off! The kids oohhhed and awwweed; they were pretty impressed. After the entire white shell was off, we were left with an egg whose yolk you could actually see. I had my students come up and hold it in their hands to feel our egg's newfound texture: we decided the best way to describe it was "water balloon." 

We are now exploring another experiment with this egg. We poured Karo Syrup over the top of the egg and are interested to see what results we get with this one! Stay tuned!