October 28, 2012

Dressing Your Puppy for Halloween

Disclaimer: No lab stayed in her costume for more than two and a half minutes.

Here's a new tutorial for you...it's been a while since I've done one, right?

Dressing Your Puppy for Halloween
Step One: Find a cute costume...
(See the little gold stinger?? Phoebe's nickname is "Bee" so we thought it was perfect!)

Step Two: Put costume on and hold breath, hoping she won't destroy it...

Step Three: Step back for the inevitable freak out...

Step Four: Give the puppy a carrot as a peace offering (and a chance to snap a picture)...

Step Five: Give up!

Maybe I should stick with the other kinds of tutorials...this wasn't the most successful one, haha!

In other news, I have a winning name for yesterday's giveaway. Thank you so much to everyone who entered--and a huge thanks for all of the lovely messages you left!! The winning name is...
Congrats and thank you Paula! I am sending you an email right now!

Anyone else try to dress up your pets for Halloween? This was the first (and last!) for Bee :)
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October 27, 2012

A Quick Giveaway! (and Halloween Sale)

Happy Weekend everyone!! I'm joining many admired friends out there to have a sale at my TpT Store this weekend. Everything is now 20% off!

I also wanted to have a little giveaway...just a small way of showing thanks for your friendship, kind words, and support through the years. If you would like to enter, the prize is any item of choice from my TpT store:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ok, I'm going shopping now! I hope you all have a great weekend! And those in the path of Hurricane Sandy, please stay safe! We're keeping a close eye on the storm here.
(Halloween Lettering by Miss Tiina at www.misstiina.com)
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October 21, 2012

2012-2013 Day-At-A-Glance Lesson Template

Hi guys! Today I've been reworking my old Day-At-A-Glance Lesson Plan Template from last year. It looked like this...
...and I was very happy with it! So much in fact, I even kept on using it this year. But it did need some tweaking.

So now I have this...
My schedule's pretty different this year and has taken a lot of adjusting (as you might be able to see from the notes above). The biggest changes I made are the boxes for Opening, Work Period, and Closing. I wanted it to be easier to see when I was going over my plan for the day...instead of a bunch of writing squished into one box (like I had last year). I'm hoping this will help.

I know everyone's schedule is so different, but in case you would like a template to rearrange to your liking, I've shared it below (it's  a Powerpoint file).

If you'd like to use the same fonts, they are Belly Button Innie and Coffee Shoppe Espresso.

And here's the file...

Thanks for visiting!
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October 14, 2012

Blogging in the Classroom

Hi everyone! I'm really excited to share some information about blogging in my 5th grade classroom this year!

Blogging is something I've done in the past with my classes, usually tied into to Reader's Workshop (through reader's responses). Our blogging back then was pretty limited because the website we were using was a bit tough for the students to navigate and utilize.

This year, I was fortunate to stumble upon the free service Kidblog. It is excellent and so easy to use! (I was not asked to advertise this site...I'm just sharing information because it is great!).

Here are some benefits to Kidblog...
  • It's secure...only the students, teachers, administrators, and parents can see the class blog. 
  • It's easy to set up. There is a Dashboard (under the Control Panel) for teachers to manage posts, student blogs, student passwords, and make customizations.
  • The blogging interface is pretty intuitive (it reminds me of Blogger):
(it lets you upload media as well...which is great because you can include pictures!)
  • It's visually appealing to the students (can you guess how much they loved choosing an avatar??)...
You can also choose a template for your blog AND the students can choose their own designs for their individual blogs...
...which leads me to the best part! The home page is the class blog itself, where everyone can comment. But each student can also have their OWN individual blog (kind of a branch off of the class blog) which is fantastic for those reader's responses!
 
Well, that might be the best part, but there is a bit more.

Since it's so easy to use, we've actually been using the class blog as a reflective tool in other subjects.

Such as review and extension in Writer's Workshop...

Reflection on strategies used in Math...
And responses to text (those I can't show because they are student work).

We're really just in the beginning stages of blogging this year (we got a bit off track during state testing!) but I have a lot of plans to incorporate this within all subjects throughout the year.

On a separate but related sidenote...I've noticed a huge increase in my students' abilities (both in word processing and general navigation) on computers, even compared to my classes just a few years back. Technology is so embedded in their lives at home (even more than it was previously) which is why this blogging in the classroom is so important to me. 

Have you blogged with your students in class? Or do you have a different technological learning tool you love to use with your students?
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October 13, 2012

Managing Student Tables (printables)

Happy weekend!! Today, I wanted to share a bit about how I organize my students' tables and materials, in hopes that you may be able to use one of the signs or storage ideas.

So, this is my third year of using tables in my 5th grade classroom and I just love them! I think there are so many positives to having tables in my classroom:
  • It's very easy to change seats (no more moving furniture!).
  • We don't have any more hidden messes inside the desks (nothing worse than finding an old milk in the recesses of a desk, believe me!).
  • Everyone has their own place to sit, but groups can be fluid and change easily for collaboration in different subjects/lessons.
  • There is less visual clutter!!! There is such a huge difference in the room...I still notice it, even though it's been years (ok, I wasn't going to write this because it will probably sound crazy, but the tables have less legs and don't have those desk openings, which REALLY tones down the visual distractions!)...
Though I love my tables, I will be honest with you, my dear readers. It really has taken some time to evolve into an ideal system, storage-wise. 

BUT, I think I finally have it just the way I like it and, most importantly, in a way that keeps my students organized and ready to go at all times!

Here's a peek at our setup...

1. Textbooks and Dry Erase Boards
All student textbooks and dry erase boards are stored on the windowsill in baskets from Really Good Stuff (I shared more about this in an earlier post here)...
(please click here to download the editable labels shown above)

2. Numbered Drawers
Each student has a storage drawer, labeled by their class number (for more information on these drawers, please see this post from August)...
These extra-wide drawers store the students' binders, Everyday Math Journals, and Reader's Workshop materials...
 (please click on my TpT or TN shop to download these labels for free)

I love these drawers!! They hold a great amount and make everything look all neat and tidy when packed up at the end of the day!

3. Table Baskets
This is the newest addition to our system. In the past, I've always kept my community supplies in baskets, on a shelf for students to grab and use. 

This month, I decided to tweak my supply system a bit and add everything we might need during the day and label it by table number (I think I am number obsessed this year!).

So, each table has two baskets with coloring materials, pens for note-taking, highlighters, dry erase markers, glue, and erasers...
everything we might need during a lesson...and anything that will eliminate time wasted on passing out materials!
 (please click on my TpT or TN store to download these labels for free)

Each group has a table manager in charge of keep the materials organized and placed out on the tables. At the end of the day, the baskets are returned to the shelves, so the tables are clear and ready to clean.

What about those students with lots of supplies from home? 

I have a couple who have pencils boxes of all those awesome pens, markers, and fun little items. I definitely get this (loving a variety of supplies myself) and don't mind if they keep these out on the tables overnight, as long as they are in a pencil box. 

4. Chair Pockets
I don't have a current picture of my chair pockets yet...it was a hit-the-ground-running kind of start to the school year and I still haven't attached them. My goal is to get them up this week, so my students can have their current read right at their fingertips.

I hope this was of some help and that you might be able to use one of the files in your room! And now, I'm curious to know...

Do you have desks or tables for your students? What are some storage tips that have worked well for either in your room? Thanks so much for visiting! :)
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October 11, 2012

Halloween Gift: A Bit of Light...

...for Halloween Night!

Hi everyone! I am actually ahead of schedule (or perhaps this could be called procrastinating on a new level) and whipped up a little sign to go with a Halloween gift for my class. 

(I was inspired by all of those awesome glow stick gifts out there on Pinterest).

So I bought some of those glow stick bracelets from Walmart...
And divided them up, three bracelets per student (I like odd numbers in arrangements!).

Then I just taped the three bracelets together and taped the sign to the top of them...
I really like this idea because it's not candy (we won't be needing too much more of that, right?) and it will help with safety on Halloween Night. Plus who doesn't like glow sticks??? :)

If you would like to download the signs for your class, please click on the image below...
When does your city or town trick or treat? The city I work in goes on the grand night itself, which should make for an interesting week, since that's midweek!! :)
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October 6, 2012

Printing Poster Size with Adobe Reader

Happy Saturday everyone! I wanted to share a little trick I learned recently when looking through the print options on Adobe Reader--printing poster-size!!

This isn't something I really use often, thanks to our document camera (I've only printed poster size for Stephanie's FabulousBeyondWords Calendar Math) BUT it is great for something you want to laminate and write on many times.

So, in case this is new information to you as well, here are the steps.

1. Open the pdf you would like to enlarge.
2. Click on File and Print.
3. Under the option for Page Scaling, choose Tile All Pages:
4. Change the size of the document by increasing the Tile Scale (I used 175% as shown below):
5. Check off the Cut Marks box (shown just above) so you will have guides to use for cutting. They will show up like little crosshairs (as you can see just under that swirly border):
The only downfall is, with the resizing, you may end up with some extra white space at the top of your document...
But that large visual is such a great tool, I don't mind in the case of a couple of documents. 

Once I have it all printed, I cut the pages with a paper trimmer, glue on a posterboard, and laminate!

Do you ever print poster-size? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with us? Thanks for reading :)
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October 4, 2012

Book Bin Labels (editable printable)

Hi again everyone! I am back with a little file to share tonight. And I'm linking up with my lovely friend Tara for her...
So. This file is for the latest storage addition to my classroom (as if I needed more)...
BOOK BINS!

Ok, I realize I have purchased practically the whole line of Really Good Stuff's neon bins...from paper baskets to pencil baskets. So how could I hold back from getting matching book bins?

Actually, they were kind of a mistake that worked out well. Since my students use tables rather than desks, I thought these would be ideal to hold their books and things.

Except...

They kept falling down. And I couldn't take that sound all day! 

So we did a switcheroo (switcharoo? Too tired to look it up!) and used them for our textbooks and whiteboards along one of our three windowsills.
(Normally I don't like to block any of the natural light coming in from the windows because I love it...but I don't mind in this case because the bins fit in so nicely...and they don't fall down).

And I LOVE having the text books in these because it looks so organized and there's no way they can be a mess. They have to be put in nicely!
The file I'm sharing has the little black labels within a Powerpoint. I left it editable so you can change the color of the label (if you don't want black) and add in the text you would like for your bins, if you would like to use the file. And here it is...

Please note: This file is intended for personal use only and is not to be used to create any other file (to sell or share). Thank you!!

Where do you store textbooks in your classroom? Thanks for visiting! :)
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October 3, 2012

The Homework Spot


HI!! I'm so excited to be mid-week blogging like old times! 

I had a chance to snap a few pictures after school today and wanted to share a homework management system that has been a huge help for me this year! 

I owe it all to the fabulous Kristine, from Young Teacher Love (have you seen all of her Common Core math goodies?! Incredible!). Kristine has written very helpful posts on this system (with homework management printables): In Love! and Amazing Idea for Homework Management.

With this system, each student has a space to turn in their homework...a space the teacher can see very easily to quickly check for homework that has been turned in! Kind of an at-a-glance accountability system...
(It's a also great visual reminder to pass in homework for students who arrive at different times during the morning).

So, to set this up, I used some of those clear binder pockets and hot glued them to the wall (this is something I've done in the past to display books in my class). I used two dots of glue at the top edges of the pocket and left the bottom hanging free. I've only had one fall off (pretty sure my fingers were all burny and hot-glued-out at that point, leading to a bad gluing job!) but the others have stayed on nicely.

I like the clear pockets because they don't really stand out too much. They also make it really easy to see when they are filled with homework...
(that's just a blank paper, but you get the idea!).

And that's it! Between this homework system and the student numbering system in general, my teaching life has been SO much easier this year! Thank you Kristine and thanks bloggy friends!!

What are some management techniques you use for homework?
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