February 25, 2013

No Longer Numberless! (Tracking Student Papers)

This has been a year of numbers for me.

Student numbers, that is.

I decided this past summer (after seeing so many smart teacher-bloggers doing the same) that I would use this system for my class.
And it has been an excellent organizational tool!

There's only been one little problem with the numbers actually...or perhaps I should say lack of numbers. You know, the ones forgotten on the student papers? I understand that these things can be forgotten easily. But I need those numbers!

So I decided to fine-tune our system. Numbers are now required in the top, right-hand corner of the page (this makes it easier for me to see them as I flip through the stack).

And they must be highlighted:
It really takes just a quick second for my students to do this, since highlighters are always accessible at their tables...

Why highlight the numbers?
  • The numbers are easily seen amongst all the pencil on the paper.
  • Papers can be sorted into order before correcting.
  • Scores can be entered quickly, as the papers are in order.
  • Missing work can be identified quickly.
I realize a system such as this always calls for a helpful sign, so I made a little reminder for each basket we use.
This is a good visual reminder for my newest students to the country, as well as those who sometimes forget these things...I mean we are in 5th grade and these things happen, right?
(my room's not all pink, by the way, I have other colors as well!)

This is one of those little tricks that has made my collecting-grading-recording life SO much easier. So I wanted to share it with my dearest friends!

If you would like to try something similar, please feel free to use the sign below (clicking on the picture will bring you to the direct download)...
What techniques do you have for organizing student work?
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February 23, 2013

A Giveaway to Miss Tiina's Shop!

Hi everyone!! I'm getting really close to 5,000 followers and I have been wanting to do something special for the occasion. I've thought and planned and scrapped so many ideas. And I've decided I just can't wait 'til I reach that milestone...because I want to celebrate now, for so many reasons!

I  am ever-grateful for your friendship, your kind comments, your support, and your wisdom. I realize I've become a sort of weekend blogger this school year and that was never my intent...it's just been beyond busy (as I know you all understand and experience!). Despite my infrequent posting, you always find time to stop by to read and share...and it means so much to me!

So, as a small way of saying thank you for so many things, I'm going to have a series of little giveaways over the next few weeks.

The first giveaway is one I am really excited about...because it is from one of my ABSOLUTE favorite designers out there (in case you haven't guessed this already!)...Miss Tiina! Tina has graciously donated a $20.00 giftcard to her incredible shop (thank you Tina)!!
There are so many goodies in this shop, it's amazing! Fonts, clipart, papers...I can't get enough of her cute and innovative work!! I must have it all!!!

Sorry, lost a bit of my composure there.

Anyhow, if you would like to enter this giveaway (hurry, it's going to be a quick one, I'm announcing the winner tomorrow evening) please see the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And thanks again friends :)
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February 17, 2013

Pin It Away! (Free Flipped Signs Collection)

Hey bloggy friends! I am doing a little cleaning around here (I wish I could call it spring cleaning, but the snow just keeps falling in my town!). I am working to get this little blog organized and set up in a more user-friendly fashion for my you, my dear readers :)

And as my thoughts turn more and more to next year (do you do the same at this time?) I am thinking of organizing all of those little free files I've been sharing over the years...in a Pinterest-friendly format!

So, whenever you see "Pin it Away!" post, it will a collection...a visual menu linking to older posts and files.

All you will need to do is pin the collage image you see at the top of the post and you'll be all set to return here (perhaps in the warm and happy organizing days of summer) to download to your heart's content!

So. My first Pin It Away! features all of those Flipped Signs I was going on about last summer. I'm keeping the same color scheme/signs next year...I love them too much to change!

If you click on each image below, it will take you to an older blog post with the coordinating files to download:
I really hope this will be of some help in tracking down older files. I'd love to hear what you think about this format! Thanks for reading :)
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February 10, 2013

Storage Drawers for Student Tables

Hey everyone!! How have my New England friends weathered the storm? We saw quite a bit of snow in my town...
 
But, in the end, everything cleared up and looked really pretty...
Back to storage! 

Remember these drawers I talked about this past summer?
Well, they've been a godsend this year! They turned out to be the perfect size for binders, books, writing materials...all of the essential supplies we need to store creatively, since we don't have desks in our class.

There was only one little issue with these lovely drawers...constant traffic jams! Even when I separated the stacks of drawers, I still had nine students traveling to one place.

So (and if you know me well, this won't come as a surprise at all) I bought some more! 

For two reasons really.

The drawers are PERFECT and I wanted to store even more with them. So we now have a drawer for books and writing materials (just as before) and also a new drawer...one to store papers going home and student binders:
I could not be happier with this setup! Each student has two drawers and can keep track of which materials to store where with the labels, as shown below:
(does that picture make you feel dizzy? I debated on whether or not to include it. I was trying to be all photographerish, sorry!)

The other great thing about the additional drawers is that I can now have them separated into four different parts of the room...
 ...which organizes the traffic flow so much more efficiently.
I LOVE them! They are neat, organized, and take up very little space.

I've made some other refinements to our room (which is really just a fancy way of saying I've bought some more things) and I promise to share these very soon. I think I do this every year...it's almost like a second wave of classroom setup--setup, take two!

So. Did you get a lot of snow? Or is it really hot and sunny where you are? (don't tell me if so, joking!) Do you evolve your organizational system as the year progresses? (also a fancy way of saying you shop as much as I do) Thanks for stopping by!
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February 5, 2013

Making the Grade! Poster

Hi! I'm joining up with my friend Tara for her famous linky...
Ok, so I don't have a ton of things made (have you seen how many amazing things Tara can crank out?!) but I do have something new that I would like to share with you!

I've been working on having (sounds awkward, too tired to edit) more rubrics and examples of work displayed on our bulletin board. My students have rubrics in their binders...but I really think they are more powerful when displayed in a place where we can reference them frequently. 

So I've started with a little Making the Grade sign for this area, our district's grading scale, and grading codes that correlate directly to our report cards (I'm using these codes on my students' papers...for instance Reader's Responses get both a reading grade and a writing grade and are coded R and W...not my original idea, I learned about it online at a wonderful blog I cannot find again!).
I'm going to add work samples next, such as a math homework paper filled out completely, displaying all calculations and work. 

It's one of those things I feel like I should have done a long time ago, but I just never thought of having it on display!

So, I do have the sign to share, in case you'd like to use it for your own bulletin board. Just click on the image below to download...
 
Do you keep a display like this? Or do you have a different way of sharing rubrics and grading with your students?
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February 3, 2013

Tutorial: Watermarking Photos with your Blog Button

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to share a quick tutorial on watermarking your photos and preview images...with your blog button! 

It's a great way to brand your photos and really make them stand out on Pinterest.

There are many programs that can be used to do this, but I will stick with our friend Powerpoint today...since so many of us have access to it.

Here are the steps:
Step One
Open a new file in Powerpoint.

Step Two
 Go to Insert and choose Picture.

Step Three
Make any adjustments to the picture you would like, such as sizing.

Step Four
Just as you did in Step Two, insert a picture...this time choose your button.

Step Five
Arrange your button as you would like it to appear on the image.

Step Six
Select both the image and your blog button.

Step Seven

 Right-click on the screen and choose Save as Picture.

And that's it! You will now have a watermarked image, all branded with your logo...
Helpful Hint: You may want to save the file you create in Powerpoint. That way, you can just add additional slides to Powerpoint and copy and paste your button onto each new image...to save a few additional steps in the future.

I hope this was of some help if you are looking to try something similar! Thanks for stopping by :)
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February 2, 2013

Saving time (and paper!) in Spelling: Part Two

Hellooo! I am so happy to be back on my blog! I've been compiling a bunch of new pictures to share with you for a long time now. The only problem? I had lost my camera cord....aaarrrgh!! After a frantic search (under the bed, ahem) I did end up finding it this morning...so I am once again a happy blogger.

So (a little bit behind schedule) here is Part Two of Saving time (and paper!) in Spelling. Last time I shared how we are using Vocabulary City and how it's made a huge impact on saving time for my class (you can hop over to that older post by clicking on the green link above).

And for Part Two?

Well, it's all thanks to these clear dry erase pockets I bought years ago...
(their official name is The Communicator Clearboard and they are awesome!!)

The pockets erase so nicely and clean up really well. I prefer them over writing on laminated surfaces, 'cause the lamination can get some buildup over time.

I've been using them as part of our typical routine in spelling and it has saved time and paper in copying of graphic organizers. I love our routine and it's very important, but all of those papers really start to add up!

So I copied our usual graphic organizers used for sorting our words, took out the boxes I usually had set up for my students, and ask them to self-sort the words (in small groups or individually)...


I'm storing them alongside our other whiteboards...
Maybe I should change that label to Awesome Pockets??

They're such a great time/paper-saver...an important spelling/word work routine all set to go each week!

I would love to share more about what we do in spelling each week, if you'd like to read about it. Or shall I blog about my latest storage purchase?? Let me know what you think, I'm a girl with a camera (and cord!) and ready to blog!!!
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