Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post at All Things Upper Elementary

I have a post today over at All Things Upper Elementary all about helping your student writers get impressive results with their revisions. Go check it out!

  Revision Tips from Ladybug's Lounge

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Favorite Classroom Ever!

I am so excited to finally get a chance to share pictures of how my room looked at the beginning of this school year.  It still looks pretty much the same, except for the anchor charts all over the walls and bulletin boards :)  Thanks to inspiration from blogland and TPT, I am more excited about this room than I ever have been before.  It is such a colorful, happy place for me to step into every morning and always makes me feel peaceful.  So let's get started with a quick tour!

This is my favorite part of the room - our classroom library.  I bought the pink and green book bins from Really Good Stuff.  The pink and green book tubs are from the Dollar Tree.  The genre library labels are by Ladybug's Teacher Files and are a real lifesaver for keeping the library organized.  The product came with large labels for the tubs, but also mini sticker labels for inside the books.  Now, there is no excuse for not putting books back in the correct tubs!  The number labels for the book bins are from Hope King's Classroom Decor Wild Things.

This is the view from the door of my room.

I love this Jungle clip chart from Curriculum to the Core.  I use this very consistently - students are moving up and down the chart all day, and I keep track on my clipboard.  They can earn tickets if they end the day on green or above, and they redeem tickets on Fridays for class coupons.

This is the view of the front of my room.  The kids come to the carpet for minilessons throughout the day, and the pink chair is our author's chair during Writing Workshop.

This is our Writing bulletin board and shelves with writing materials. 

This is our word wall and shelves with tubs of community supplies.  I love the tubs - also from Dollar Tree!

During the first week of school, we wrote our classroom mission statement and made construction paper faces of ourselves to hang on the wall.  This greets me every morning when I get to school, and it always starts me off in a good mood!

I will be back soon to share what is going on in our classroom!  Time to get to bed so I can catch up on some sleep before school tomorrow.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Winner of My Pin It to Win It

This is just a quick post to announce the winner of my Pin It to Win It contest - congratulations Cherie!  I have already emailed the product to you. I used a random number generator website to choose the number.  Cherie won my Summer Themed Writing Devices Practice pack.

Thank you so much to the other THREE people who entered my contest - you made me and my little TPT store feel special lol!  

I'm off to get some sleep because I have out-of-town guests visiting and am getting up bright and early to meet them for breakfast and a trip to the children's museum with their little 2 year old!  Good night!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Linky: Classroom Must Haves

With less than 3 weeks to go before my school begins our preservice, I am slowly feeling ready to get back into work mode.  I found this fun linky over at Swimming into Second that got me thinking about ten of the most important things in my classroom.

1. My stopwatch

I use this when teaching procedures at the beginning of the year.  I time my students to see how quickly they can get lined up, and we talk about the importance of not wasting a second of learning time.  The stopwatch motivates them to go as quickly as they can, and I keep using it throughout the year.  I also use it to time their restroom breaks (we have to go as a whole class at my school).  Most years, my whole class can be done at the restrooms in 5 minutes or less.

2. My easel

I use my easel almost every single time I bring my class to the carpet for a Reading or Writing minilesson.  I use the dry erase board on it, but also put chart paper on it to make our class anchor charts.

3. Mr. Sketch markers

We make anchor charts for almost every new objective we learn, so I go through these fast.  The kids love getting wafts of the smells coming from the markers!

4. Post-it chart paper

I love how easy it is to make an anchor chart on this paper, then just peel it off and stick it on the wall.  It's expensive, but well worth it to me!

5. Class data board

It changes every year, but I love having some way for everyone to see their progress in math and reading via a class data board.  On this one last year, I had their names on little monkeys that I moved up the chart as they progressed in their reading level and on Mad Minute.  

6. Pens and mechanical pencils
It seems like I go through a pack of these things every week sometimes!  I'm constantly grabbing for a pencil or pen throughout the day, and I don't know where they end up sometimes.  So I always make sure to have extra packs on hand.

7. Clipboard

I carry one of these with me everywhere when I'm with my class.  I always have a class list with me so I can gives checks to kids in the hallway if they are talking, running, etc.  It is a big part of my classroom management.  This year, I'm going to be having a clip chart, so this will help me remember if anyone has to move their clip (up or down) when we get back to the classroom.

8. Student book boxes

I am a big fan of individual book boxes for my students.  This prevents them from constantly being in the class library getting new books.  They can keep several at a time in their book boxes.  It's a big part of my Reading Workshop setup.  

9. Magnetic dry erase board

This was my first classroom that had a MAGNETIC dry erase board.  In my old classroom, it wasn't magnetic.  It made such a difference to be able to stick some magnet tape on the back of something and, "VOILA!" it sticks!  I also loved being able to use magnetic clips to hold papers on the board.

10. Mini dry erase boards

My students keep these in their desks, along with a dry erase marker and a washcloth (to use as an eraser).  We pull them out during Math class all the time to do quick reviews and checks for understanding.  

Well, there you have it!  10 items from my classroom that I would have a hard time doing without!  Link up with your top ten if you get a chance; I'd love to see some of your ideas.  

Also, if you stuck through this long post, I feel like you deserve a reward.  I've been wanting to try this Pin it to Win it idea.  Head to my store and pin any item that you would like to own (link to my store over on the right).  Leave a comment below with the name of the item, a link to the pin, and your email address, and I will choose a random number as a winner on Friday, July 26th.  Good luck!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

 I'm ready to link up with this fun Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party over at Flying Into First Grade!

This week's topic is Tic Tac Toe.  Look at the Tic Tac Toe board and choose three topics to write about.  They have to be three in a row, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.  I love this idea!

I will share horizontally across the middle of the board.

My First Year of Teaching

In 4th grade in Texas, our kids have to take state tests in Reading, Math, and Writing.  My 4th grade teaching partner and I were not from Texas, and we were not even told that our kids would be tested in Writing.  I remember when we found out around December that our kids would be taking this big writing test in March! We had been teaching writing, but this test was focused on writing a narrative paper in a very specific way. We did the best we could, and actually most of our students ended up passing, but we definitely incorporated Writing Workshop from Day 1 the following year!

My Favorite School Memory as a Kid

  My 3rd grade teacher did something that I have continued as a tradition in my teaching career.  At the end of the year, she spread out a bunch of books across the floor and let one student at a time pick a book as a gift.  I picked a Steven Kellogg book, Ralph's Secret Weapon.  That gift from my teacher was so special, and now I let my students choose a book from me every year at Christmas and the end of the year.  I order Scholastic $1 books and write a message inside  for each child.  Hopefully it will be as special to some of them as it was to me!

Books I'm Reading

The main reason I'm being so unproductive this summer is because I am trying to read all of this series before school starts:

Once school starts again, I won't have nearly as much time to read, so I am letting myself relax.  These books are AMAZING!  Extra bonus: watching the HBO TV series once I'm done.

Eventually, I will get around to reading these professional development books I purchased from Barnes and Noble (yay for 20% teacher discount)!

As you can see, most of them are Math books.  I need to try something new to get my kids to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, and to motivate them to try their hardest on Math problems.  Hoping that these books have some fresh new ideas (PLEASE!!!)

This was such a fun idea for a linky party!  If you'd like to join in, click the button at the top of this post to head over and link up.

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5295059/?claim=dz5rfnbkr69">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Survival Kits

A couple days ago, I posted about items I wanted to purchase this weekend for my students' end of year gifts/ Summer Survival Kits.  After trips to two different Dollar Trees today, I have the kits all planned out!  They have a camping theme, and here's what's included:

A folder with my Summer Survival Kit on TPT, which includes "Tackle Your Multiplication Facts" flashcards, a "Catch Some Good Books" reading log, and an "I am Writing S'More This Summer" journal.  Dollar Tree had packs of three colorful folders in bright pink, green, and purple.  Perfect!

I found these LED booklights, batteries included!  On the back, I taped this poem, which you can find for free HERE.  I'm hoping this will really encourage some summer reading.  I'm also including a brand new free book for everyone in their kit that I purchased for $1 from Scholastic.

I was going to include a snack bag with the tag "You're O-Fish-ally in 4th grade," but I happened to find cheese whales at Dollar Tree, not goldfish.  So, I improvised and made these cute tags instead.  I think the message is "cheesy" enough for these cheese crackers :)

Last, Dollar Tree had these super bright and sparkly beach pails.  I put everything inside, minus the free books (they are in my classroom), and added a label to the front of the pail.  Here is what the finished product looks like:

I am planning on placing one on each desk the morning of the last day of school so they are there when the students walk in.  All the different colors will look so pretty spread across the room!  What are you making for your students' end of year gifts?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five For Friday - Shopping Edition!

I am happy to be linking up with Doodle Bug's Five For Friday again after being too tired to post on Fridays for about the past 2 months!

But thanks to my 2 hour nap earlier today after an exhausting field day, I have a burst of energy now.  I was just working on some end of year/ beginning of next year ideas and thought I'd put a little shopping twist on my Five for Friday post.  Here are 5 things I am planning on buying this lovely, long Memorial Day weekend!

1. Sheet protectors so that I can make a coupon binder for the new reward system I'll be using next year. I bought these class coupons from Laura at Peach, Love, and First Grade.

I want to display the large version of the coupons in a binder and have them as a reward option for kids who earn tickets.

2. Fun prizes from Oriental Trading - also as part of my new reward system. Kids will be able to earn tickets based on what color they are on at the end of the day.  They can used their tickets for prizes, and the more tickets they save up, the better the prizes are that they can win.  I've got my eye on these:
These little rubber duckies are too cute!

There are mini inflatable beach balls - I love miniature things like these and I know my students will too!

3. Items to include in my "Summer Survival Kits" that I'm working on for my students this weekend.  So far, the kits will have everything included in this pack:

I'm also going to put some goldfish in baggies with these adorable tags (except they will say "4th grade.":
Then to continue with the camping theme, I found this creative idea to buy mini flashlights and attach to this note:
If you want to use any of these, I included links to the stores if you click on the pictures.  I'm also going to put 2-3 books in everyone's kit.  I'm really excited about the cohesive camping theme the kits will have; I think the kids will be motivated to read, write, and practice their math this summer!

4. Some new, bright book tubs for the books in my class library.  Maybe something like these:

I've had my book tubs for 5 years now, and they are mismatched and getting dirty.  I'm ready for a change!  Going to try the dollar store and Target to see what I can find.

5. A formal dress to wear to our school's Red Carpet Awards Ceremony on Wednesday!  I haven't gone shopping for a formal dress since prom, so this should be interesting.  I love this dress:

Yes, this event is going to be fancy schmancy!  A lot of the boys are planning on wearing tuxes, and the girls will be looking like princesses I'm sure.  I can't wait to see how cute everyone is!  

So there was my shopping version of Five for Friday, and I am looking forward to getting started tomorrow and Sunday!  I had better go rest up so I have energy to hunt these things down tomorrow.  Happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone!