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.

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