Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Classroom Committees and a Question

Hello Everyone!  In my classroom, I have always had a helper complete tasks such as take the attendance to the office, pass out papers, run errands, etc.  This has worked well for me, and I plan on continuing it. However, this year, I am adding a variety of committees to take care of the other needs in the classroom.  This way, I don't have to keep asking people to complete these tasks.  The responsibility will fall on the students.

Right now, I have four committees planned.  I will have students place the committees in order of their preference.  Hopefully, no one will end up with their last choice.  I plan on meeting with each committee to make a plan, and checking in with them a minimum of once a month. Most likely, it will be more than that at the beginning of the year.

I am anticipating 24 students this year.  That would mean 6 students per committee.  I would like to get that number down a bit, but that is where I am stuck.  I have been racking my brain for another committee that would not interfere with the helper's duties, and I am drawing a blank.  I was thinking about some sort of leadership committee, but I'm not sure what that would look like yet.  I might just start the year with four and see if the need arises to form a fifth.

Anyway, here are my four committees.  If you have any suggestions for a fifth, I would LOVE to hear them.


Thank you!  I would truly appreciate any input.  If you think six would be an ideal number for a committee, please let me know that too.

Enjoy the last days/weeks of summer.  It is flying, for sure!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It

Hello Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.
Made It #1
My first Made It is a couple of reading signs I made for my classroom. The first was a sign was inspired by Lana from For the Love of Teaching.  I made a place for students to put their classroom library books once they have finished reading them.  In the past, I have always had students return their own books.  This year, I'm going to have a library committee to make sure the books go back to their proper places.  Students will put finished books here.
Throughout the year, we compose a variety of books as a class.  I made a place to put the completed books so students will have access them during reading time.
You can get these signs, along with the one I made last week for read alouds for free right here.
The blue and green chevron paper is from Ashley Hughes.
The clip art is from Giftseasonstore (on Etsy),

Made It #2
I cut and laminated these Brain Breaks from Third Grade Thoughts.  I plan on using them throughout the day, but especially before and after longer periods of work.  I am very excited to use these!
Made It #3
I just love all the birthday charts with students' pictures on them that I've seen on Pinterest.  However, I have limited wall space, so I decided to make this.
I made a 4 x 6 card for each month.  (The papers coordinate with the ones used on my monthly binder covers.)

I found these Post-it notes.
I put a Post-it note on each card.  

I will write students' names and birthdays on the Post-it notes and display the album near the calendar and birthday balloons.  (I still have to make those.)
Now, I have a cute, space-saving way to display birthdays.

If you are interested in a set of these cards, you can get them here.

The digital papers for these cards are from Jazzy Patterns (April, May, June, July, Birthday), and Striped Elephants (January, February, March, August, September, October, November, December).
The font is Sunshine Jumble by Stef Swanson.

I'm off to check out what everyone else has been working on.
Thank you!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Must Read Mentor Texts

Hello Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for Must Read Mentor Texts.
This week's topic is social studies.  I found a super cute book to help introduce government.  The book is titled Vote for Me!
                                  Vote for Me!
This is the story of a presidential election.  Elephant versus donkey. Each candidate states their case for why they should be elected, but it's not too long before the mudslinging begins.  Literally.
Eventually, the animals apologize to each other, and they are ready to find out the winner of this election.  Who wins?  The Independent Mouse, of course.

I like this book to introduce government because the political parties are very clear.  Students can also discuss the impact of running an election with a negative campaign.  I love teaching social studies, but my government unit needs to be spiced up a bit.  This book looks like one good way to do that.  I plan on reading it to my students at the beginning of the unit in order to get their interest and open the conversation about fairness and being positive.  This book would be appropriate for all elementary aged students.  The conversation would just take different turns.

There is also some exaggeration found in the promises that are being made.  This would lend itself perfectly to a lesson on hyperbole.
I'm off to read about all the other great social studies mentor texts. Be sure to head over to Collaboration Cuties blog and check them out.

Thank you!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorite Pins and Fiction Friday

Hello Everyone!  I'd like to share some of my favorite pins for the week.  I am linking up with Cara from the First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday.

I love the color combination in this outfit found on Kendi Everyday.
Yellow and Purple
Salmon is one of my all time favorite foods.  The recipe for citrus glazed grilled salmon can be found on Betty Crocker's website.

Citrus-Glazed Grilled Salmon
I already have some ideas for how to use this trick from Geek Ideas. (How to print on a paper lunch bag)
Instructions for printing on paper lunch bags.  This might come in handy!
This looks like a great back to school game from Teach 4 Real.
Back to School Idea Pins

I love this.  You can text parents, and they will not get your number.  It is a free app from iTunes.

Free iPhone app to let you text parents without them seeing your #
Finally, I love these glitter marble magnets from How was your day?  I really hope I have time to make these before school starts.
                                  How to Make Glitter Glass Marble Magnets

Today I am also linking up with Amanda from The Teaching Thief for Fiction Friday
My reading list is full of new books that have recently come out as well as older titles that were recommended to me and I just haven't had a chance to get to yet.  The book I read this week is called Turn About.
I have read many books by Margaret Peterson Haddix in the past, but I just now got to this one (published in 2000).
Guided Reading Level - X

This book is about an experiment in "unaging".  A group of elderly nursing home residents were given a shot that has them age backwards.  Originally, they were to be given "the cure" when they reached the age where they would want to stay, and they would remain that age forever.  However, it is discovered that the cure will cause them to rapidly age and disintegrate.

The book is mainly about two subjects in the experiment living away from the agency as teenagers.  They realize that they are going to need to find someone to take care of them before they get too young to take care of themselves.  In the end, they find someone who is willing to take care of them, and everyone is optimistic about their future.

You can read more about this book here.

This book is exciting and very well-written.  It was recommended to me by a colleague who uses it as a read aloud.  I am concerned that the theme may be to mature for some of my fourth graders.  (Some of the participants in the study do not handle this well.  Although it is not a main point of the book, some commit suicide.)  I think I will offer it to one of my colleagues who teaches older students.  I loved the book, but my concerns are going to prevent me from using it as a read aloud or having it on the shelves for anyone to read.  However, I think it would be very appropriate to do so in middle school.

Have you read this book?  If so, I am curious about what you think.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Binders and Bulletin Boards

Hello Everyone!  I have been in my classroom every day this week getting ready for the students to arrive.  I can't believe we will be back in just three weeks!  To anyone who is not a teacher, that seems like a long time.  However, I am already switching to panic mode.  I've been studying our Common Core for language arts.  This will be our first year using the Common Core in our district.  I'm looking forward to sharing how my teaching partner and I tackle the standards as well as seeing what others do.  I have been so inspired by others' ideas already.

One of the things I did to help make planning language arts a little easier is make new binder covers and side labels.  Somehow, pretty binders make planning easier.

I combine August and September as well as May and June.  I realize not everyone may do that, so I also made these.

There are side labels that fit a 2 inch binder as well as a 1 1/2 inch binder.  If you would like another size, please let me know.  You can get a copy of the binders here.
*I completed a remake of this product.  There are now 24 binder covers, side labels for 2, 1 1/2, 1, and 1/2 inch binders.  All items except the 1/2 inch side labels are editable.  I have learned a lot since originally writing this post.  You can see these in my TPT store by clicking here.

Now, on to bulletin boards...
I have used every type of paper imaginable to cover my bulletin boards.  In the past, I have used art paper, fadeless paper, wrapping paper, newspaper, student-created paper...  This year, I am trying something different.

I found these fabrics at Jo Anns.
I love the look of black/white/gray against bright colors, so I bought these at Lakeshore.
I am very happy with the way the fabric looks on the bulletin boards.  I really wish I started doing this years ago.  
On the left side of this one are my 7 habits posters.  On the right, I will be putting up the sticker charts we use as a reward system.  I will be talking about these in a future post.
This is the side of my filing cabinet.  I use this area to post information on assemblies, etc.  I just love the yellow dog.  Its head is a magnetic paper clip holder.  A parent gave it to me a couple of years ago.
This is the board I will use to post my Daily 3.  I'm working on getting that together.  (I also still need to label the student book boxes and do about a million other things.)

This will be the first year I am posting bulletin boards that will stay up all year.  I have mixed feelings about it.  I'm sure I will be changing the hall displays more often now because I love to show my students' hard work. There are just several things that I need to stay up all year (learning targets, Leadership theme items).  I need to save as much of my wall space as I can for my anchor charts.

What have you used to cover your bulletin boards?
Do you change them or keep the same ones up all year?

Thank you for reading!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It

Hello everyone!  Today I'm linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

Made It #1
This one is actually a "remade it".  Two weeks ago, I made a tub for my read aloud books.  Well, I was never really happy with it for a number of reasons.  The container was too big, the colors didn't pop, ... Anyway, this week, I resolved those issues and made this.

This time, I used green chevron digital paper from Ashley Hughes and some adorable owl clip art from Giftseasonstore.

Made It #2
Last year, my school did a book study on The Leader in Me.  This year, we are focusing on a leadership theme.  I made these signs to go with Stephen Covey's 7 habits.  You can get a copy of all eight for FREE here.

The background is from Klouise DigiArt.  The frames are from Dancing Crayon Designs.  The font is AYN Dot Dot Darling.
Made It #3
Ever since I pinned this from I Love to Teach, I knew I wanted to use it. Belinda came up with 24 creative ways to call the students to line up.  I cut and laminated them.  They are now hanging by my door ready to use.
Made It #4
I made some self-assessment posters.  I have always used numbers for students to show me how well they understand concepts.  I decided this year to make a visual to go with it.  You can get a free copy of these posters here.

I love the colorful zebra print from Paper House Studio. The frames are from Dancing Crayon Designs.  The font is AYN Bold the Beast.  The finger clip art is from Rebekah Brock.

Made It #5
Last year, I made a teacher toolbox, and I loved it.  Now that I've learned how to create items digitally, I decided to give the toolbox a makeover to match the drawers I did last week.  I used the same paper from Klouise DigiArt.
That's all for this week.  I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been working on.