September 30, 2012

Testing Sign!

Happy Sunday everyone!! I hope you've all had a lovely fall weekend!

We will be starting state testing tomorrow morning (we currently test on the previous year of learning, though that will be changing in the future). 

So...I made a new sign for our door and wanted to share it with you, in case you can use it at some point this year.

It can be downloaded for free in either of my shops...
I'll be laminating and saving this sign since we also have assessments for our English Language Learners in the late winter.

When do you have testing?
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September 29, 2012

A little basket that has made a big difference!

Hey everyone! I wanted to share something that has been a huge help in my class this year...my Notes From Home basket! I can't believe I had never done this in the past, but I honestly never kept a designated place for parent notes, fieldtrip forms, picture money, and all of that!! I just always took the forms on the fly, in the midst of greeting and attendancing (we seriously need a computer dictionary that recognizes our teacher lingo and doesn't make those red error lines!) and other busy morning activities. 

I know, pretty bad!

Well, this summer I decided I couldn't face the papers flying at me in the morning anymore...so I made this designated basket. 

And it has worked like a charm! 

I no longer touch any papers from home first thing in the morning...I just ask the students to put them right in the basket. Then, during specials, I take the time to sort through and organize these important items.

So, pretty simple, but I did want to share--just in case you would like to try the same (though I'm sure you are much more organized and already thought of this). 

I have a template for Notes From Home below, plus some editable labels that I shared back in the summer here: Editable Black Labels

What are some little organizational tricks you've used that have made a big impact in your classroom? I would love to learn some new ideas!

And here's the file...
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September 23, 2012

Editable Parent Presentation Pack (free file)

Hi again! I'm back to share an editable file I used for Open House this past week. I know many of you have had your events already, but I hope this is something you might be able to use in the future! And if you have an event coming up soon, I really hope this will be of some help :)

So, there are a couple of printables in this pack. There are some editable, business-card sized labels...
I attached mine to magnets like my good friend Mor (from A Teacher's Treasure) did...they look a little funny because I erased some of the information, but you can get the idea.

I left the magnets out on those bright yellow folders (I always try to find the brightest color possible, so the families can find them when needed at home...these folders hold Math and Language Arts information for our district).

They are set up for easy customization, just type right into the text boxes...
I also left out a little half-sheet of paper, in case the parents wanted to leave a note for their child (not my original idea, just something that's commonly done at my school)...
The pack also includes a Powerpoint presentation to share with your families. I love using a presentation during Open House because it keeps me on track, no matter how nervous I might be!

There are slides for each subject area, classroom procedures, specials schedule, and more...
Each slide is set up with text boxes, so all you have to do is type in your information...
There are also duplicate slides, so hopefully you will have the subject name you need (such as Spelling and Word Work). Any slides you do not need in the file can be deleted before your presentation.

And that's it! If you would like to see more or download this free file, please visit either of the shops below...
Borders on A Note From Your Family paper created by Miss Tiina at www.misstiina.com.
 
Have you had your families in to visit yet? Does your event take place right at the beginning of school?
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September 22, 2012

Couple of pics, giveaway winners, and a sale

Ok, so I usually try to stick to one topic within a blog post, since my tendency is to wander to eleven different points, even when blogging about a particular topic. BUT, since I am about an eon behind in blogging and catching up with my beloved fellow bloggers, I thought I would share a couple of things at once. I hope you don't mind!

I still haven't officially taken photos of my whole classroom yet. I tried--I swear I did! But it was early in the morning on Thursday and the sun was coming in through the windows like crazy and the pictures just looked all funny. So I have a couple of older pics from the beginning, more to come soon!

(They are mostly showing off my pretty plants, a trick I learned from the incredible Melanie from Schoolgirl Style!). 

I managed to keep all but one alive so far (a new record for me!)...

(I have 17 students right now, in case you were wondering...this mailbox just holds the first 15 students' work).

Ok, to the giveaway! First of all, thank you for the sweetest comments in the world! They brought me such happiness this week! :)  The three winning names drawn were...
I will be emailing the Ready to Number Library Labels right to you ladies tonight!

And, finally, I am joining up with Casey, from Second Grade Math Maniac for her wonderful idea for a fall sale (I adore the fall in New England...the leaves are just starting to change right now!). Thank you for the chance to link up Casey!! :)
All of the items in my TpT store are 20% for this sale (the green link will take you over to see the items).

Thank you for stopping by!! I will be back soon with a file to share and a very focused (well, mostly focused!) blog post :) :)
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September 15, 2012

Ready 2 Number Customizable Library Labels!

Hi everyone! I am so excited to blog about a new file this evening! It's one I've been working on for a long time now!! :)

To backtrack a tiny bit. I had some very sweet requests for additional library labels for various topics. I wanted to include as many of the topics suggested as I could...plus create them in a way that has worked very well in my classroom over the years.

So, may I introduce--Ready 2 Number Library Labels!

What are Ready 2 Number Library Labels?
These labels are customizable and designed with a blank space at the top, so you may add a number of your choice...

Why number your library labels?
Numbering book bins and labels is a system I have read about on many different teaching websites over the years--and it is something I have always done in my own classroom thanks to the wisdom of these educators.

Numbering books and book bins has many benefits:
  • Books can be listed under many different topics and genres, yet the numbers maintain a cohesiveness throughout the whole library.
  • All students can easily participate in keeping the library organized.
  • A numbering system makes it so much easier for a teacher on the fly to find and return any books needed during a lesson.
How do the books stay organized?
Each book bin has a coordinating, numbered label...so students can locate the correct book bin with ease...

How can these labels be customized?
These labels are available in a Powerpoint file and are very easy to customize to fit your needs. Please see the video below for an explanation of different customizations--plus some time-saving techniques to get your labels quickly numbered and printed!
How are the labels attached?
The larger, book bin labels are best printed on cardstock. I laminate mine and hot glue them to the plastic bins I use for my library books...
The pre-numbered book labels can be printed on plain paper, cut, then taped onto the book cover (I use packing tape for longevity). I tape it so the colored part of the number is on the cover...
and the white part (where you can customize the label with your name) is on the back cover of the book...
(If you prefer stickers, these labels can also be printed on whole-page labels sheets instead.)

If you would like to read more about these labels, you can hop right over to them in either of my shops (they are listed at $8.00)...
I would also love to give away a few sets this week! If you are interested in trying a set, please enter the Rafflecopter below. Entry is easy--just an quick one for following my blog :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read this! I hope you are all having a restful and happy weekend!!

UPDATE! The font used in this file is from Sweet Shoppe Designs and is called Belly Button Innie...in case you would like to create matching numbers on the labels. The green link above will take you to the font. Thank you!!
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September 13, 2012

My foldable easel!!!

Hi!! So I realized this picture was perhaps a bit too sunny (it just streams through the windows all morning) but then I thought it gave my easel a kind of glow around it--which reflects my feelings perfectly because I LOVE MY EASEL!

So, I remember reading about Katie's (The Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher) awesome easel back when she shared her beautiful classroom this summer. I love how she set up her whole-group meeting area for her students. And even though I've always had a carpet area (thanks to Donors Choose!) I've never had an easel for my class.

Well, about seven days into our school year, I kept thinking about Katie's whole-group meeting area and how much I wanted that kind of space for my students (they just love sitting on the carpet!). 

I really wanted to find one that could fold up for easy storage during vacations, so I did a bit of searching and one of the first sites that popped up was for a sidewalk dry erase board! Kind of strange, I know, but I thought that anything that could withstand the elements could definitely survive a 5th grade classroom!

It has a handle at the top so you can lift it up and close it...
A shiny surface that's really smooth to write on and easy to erase...

And it is double-sided! (I use the other side to post dates and times of upcoming events).

I anchored it against the end of our bookcases and, underneath, added some little shelves to store dry erase markers, tape, erasers, etc (still setting up this part)...
And that's my easel! It is so great to have a more cohesive whole-group meeting area now!

What kind of tools/resources do you like to use in your whole-group meeting area? Thanks for visiting my very neglected blog...I have missed talking to everyone!
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September 9, 2012

Bright & Clear Daily 5 Signs

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope all has been going great at school for you! I wanted to stop by and share a file because I feel like I'm hardly on here--and I miss it terribly!

I'll be starting the Daily 3 with my class in the coming days and wanted to make some new signs to replace my old ones. I realized I had shared some Flipped Signs for the Daily 5 earlier this summer--but not any colorful ones! Since these will be hanging on a black wall, I needed them to be bright.

Much like my friend Tara (who has a fabulous post on her Daily 5 setup here) I use three rounds with my class: Read to Self, Work on Writing (for Reader's Responses), and Word Work.

For our Daily 3 board, I will be using these signs, plus some of those dry erase sheets, to write students' names for each round (I will be sharing pics of that soon!).

The file I'm sharing has two Read to Self signs. I'm using the one below...
But there's also a sign with a number one on it, to signify independent reading (and a two on the Read to Someone sign).

If you'd like to use these signs, please click on one of the buttons below to download them. I hope they can be of help if you are just starting out for the year!

On a total and complete sidenote...I woke up this morning and made a horrible discovery. The All (App)out Me file I had shared last week was way too similar to something created earlier this summer by Kate, from EduKate and Inspire...her iStudent file. I feel so terrible--I never even saw it because I'm such a sporadic blog reader sometimes. I never would have shared something so similar had I known! :(

Kate, of course, was extremely sweet about it. I've removed my files anyhow and wanted to share the link to her file...iStudent: An All About Me Book. Thanks again Kate!!

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)
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September 3, 2012

Clipboards and Lunch Basket Labels

Sounds kind of random I guess, but I promise they are related! So. I'm linking up with Tara for her monthly linky...
And I feel a little silly because any of the other fabulous teacher-crafters would have decorated their clipboards for a Monday Made It! But I did dress up the bucket, so that counts, right?? (The bucket is from Walmart and was $4.something). 

I also grabbed one for the students' lunch bags. It's flexy and tough, so I'm hoping it will last for the year...

The signs are printed on cardstock, laminated, and hot glued on. And they're really stuck on now. As in I tried to pull off the Clipboard sign in a last-minute-type-A need to move it down and no luck. It's ok, it's good for me to leave it as is, haha!

So, if you are interested in either of the signs, they are below in an editable Powerpoint file...so you can add your name to the lunch sign if you'd like.


What kind of baskets do you use to store your lunch boxes and larger items?
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