Friday, August 30, 2013

5 for Friday

It's 5 for Friday Time again! I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to bring you my 5 for this week!


#1 I was in the classroom for five days in a row - not teaching, just setting up things. I had some great help from my mom who deserves an award! Between the two of us I did my usual setting up of things but also got to redo a couple of bulletin boards. I also have to move my morning meeting area :( because that weird room a/c ( :) ) was in the area where the kids used to sit on the rug. The stuff I ordered for my new morning meeting location like a new calendar and such didn't arrive in time but I did get some things done. Here is a shot of my almost done organization area! I was inspired by Schoolgirl style and I did buy her organization signs (I hadn't finished stapling them when I took the pic. You can find Schoolgirl style here.


#2
Look what I found when I was looking through boxes ! LOL ! Not much else to say but they do have a new album out (I saw them on the Talk this summer promoting it). I want it that way!



#3 My  Saint Bernard stressed me out this week when he stopped eating again. Luckily a day and a half later when I put out some white fish and rice (instead of the chicken and pasta he'd been getting), he chowed down! Here he is having a stressful day while I moved furniture around the living room to rearrange things and cleaned.

#4 Walking Dead season 3 came out on DVD and I have been watching the commentaries -  I already saw the entire season and love to check out the behind the scenes stuff on them. I must say though I wish there were more - only 5 of 16 episodes had commentaries and I do love Michonne, but why were three commentaries with her and one with Merle but no other actors were on any commentaries? :( I am psyched for season 4 starting in October. Here's my favorite character - no one comes between Daryl Dixon and his cross bow!





#5 Copy machines ! argh! I was hoping to get at least a few things copied for the first day back when I was in school but the one machine in the office was being used (and its very slow anyway) and our main copy machine is on the dock and it was roped off because they waxed the floor. Now I am having stress worrying about trying to copy everything I need for the first day or two of school on Tuesday with every single other teacher in my building also needing to do the same. It was Wednesday when I was last in, and I could have gone in Thursday morning but I didn't want to drive all the way there in hopes of using it only to be let down! Starting Thu. at noon the school was closed anyway and remains closed until Tuesday. Aargh! Don't you have a lot of copy machine stress during the school year? Often I go down and this is what is happening:




Oh well! What can you do, right?

I hope everyone is having a super restful weekend, especially those of you who went back to school last week!

Classroom Management -Class Dojo

I have been teaching for 16 years so I have been through many different types of  classroom management systems. All of t hem worked pretty well and all had their downsides too. Last year I discovered a new one that I LOVE. Thanks to my classroom next-door neighbor, I found Class Dojo.

Class Dojo is free and no, they are not paying me or anything for my post here. I just got so much out of it, I thought I would share so more of you can know about this great resource.



Class Dojo is a website and an app. My classroom had 5 Ipads that we could use most of the time so I downloaded the app onto one of them and my personal Ipad. I signed up for a free account. One of the first things you do is make an avatar for each of your students. The default avatars are critters and monsters and come in many shapes and colors. Here a few few pink ones but there are also blue, green, red, black, etc.


Here is what it the main screen looks like when you log in. The demo class helped me learn how it works and I used the demo class to show my students how it worked.

Here is what the demo class looks like if you click on it - love the names, huh?
 

This is what it looks like when you open up either the demo class or your own class and see how many points everyone has so far that day. I give points out all through the day and when kids earn a certain amount of points there is a fun reward. For example 10 points earned kids the chance to choose their own avatar instead of all having the default one I assigned. 

If you click on a student to assign them a point, here is what it looks like - you automatically get the positive behaviors so if you need to give a negative you would click on the red negative and then you would see the choices. Basically, once you log in and open your class, you can either use the default behaviors to give positive and negative points or add your own. Positives I used included "homework done", "working quietly" and "finishing important assignments". Some of the negatives I used were "Problems outside of class" and "Too loud".

Right after you give a point there is a little sound effect and a message pops up like this.
 

It is easy to add your own or modify the behaviors. Here is a shot of me editing and adding a positive behavior. The only downside is I think the icons are a little weird. Like why is there an airplane for "Working Hard?" Of course you can change the icons but only a few seem to be relevant, like the thumbs up.

  

At any time (but I usually do it at the end of the day) you can look at the whole class' daily results. If you click on an individual student's name you can also see theirs. My kids liked me to show them their results on my IPad while they waited for their buses to be called.

 

You can also get a breakdown and see exactly who got a point for what and what the exact time was !





By the way you can also connect parents to their students' dojo reports if you want. They would get access to daily reports to see how many points their child got and what areas they may need to work on. I did not do this last year however.. maybe this year.

Overall, Class Dojo is amazing ! It had a very positive effect on my class last year and I am excited to start at the beginning of this year with my new group.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fall Writing Prompt Collection

Hi everyone ! I finished a bunch of new things but in all the "cray-cray" of getting ready for back to school I haven't given you any details. Finally, here's some info on the fall writing prompt collection. There are always fun things to write about that are seasonal  so I decided to put this together. It includes 9 prompts and two kinds of writing paper - Handwriting without Tears paper, which is what my school uses - and standard lines paper. It is aligned to second grade Common Core Standards; however, you should be able to use it for  grades, 1, 2, and 3. Here's a sneak peek atthe cover. If you click on the image you can see it at my TPT store. 



Here's a little example of one of the prompts. Usually my second graders do better when they have a checklist on their desk where they are writing so I like to include them  right with the prompt. They fill out the checklist and then turn it in.


Here's a little sample of the Handwriting without Tears paper. I also included a variety of black and white ink saving borders.
Here's what the standard writing paper looks like with no border.

Other prompts include:
Summer memories
Letter requesting new playground equipment
About your new teacher


But you'll have to look at it to see all the rest. Click on the image of the cover page to go to my TPT store to see more details, or if you prefer Teachers Notebook, click here. 


Have a restful night everyone!

Monday, August 26, 2013

My First Monday Made it Linkup!

Finally I am joining the Monday Made it Linky party with 4th Grade Frolics!
This is a two -parter but it won't be loog since I already mentioned these projects a few days ago. First is my super cute toolkit.

I bought the toolbox at Home Depot. It was call stack on or something. I had looked around for ideas on Pinterest and blogs and found this blog post at I'm Lovin Lit. I spray painted mine white and then snagged some super cute purple labels during the TPT sale from Kristen Doyle - you can see them here. The labels are great and editable so I added and changed a few to meet my needs. I also, as you can see left a couple drawers blank. Today I figured out what was going to go in there so now I can make those labels. Used some double sided tape from Wal-Mart ( but they were only selling the tape in pairs - I didn't need two but it was cheaper to buy two than a single one..) and attached the labels inside the drawers. Super cute and I think will help me be more organized. Here it is...




Next is my file cabinet do over which I forgot to photograph before, but it looked kind of like the before picture in this one: 



Gray, old, dusty and rusty! I looked for ideas and things like this caught my eye:




But... I was pretty sure I couldn't manage that. I am so not artistic. I had some extra purple paint so first I cleaned and removed the drawers and spray painted them purple. Then I put painters tape on the inside edges and spray painted the front white. The sides and top had been covered with marble looking contact paper (now this file cabinet was a hand me down from the HS when they knocked it down to build a new one - I got it around 2002 so I can't imagine how old it was then - I am thinking it is maybe 30 years old). I tried to peel off the contact paper with little success. It was coming off terribly. I started using a sanding block which helped but I realized it would take me FOREVER to get all the old contact paper off. So I enlisted my mom. I bought some white contact paper (hard to find by the way, just plain white didn't seem to be anywhere until I went to Home Depot). My mom came to school and we measured and cut the contact paper and did a tag team application. There were some rough spots where the old contact paper had bubbled or wrinkled but overall it came out great! It cheers up the corner next to my desk!



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Follow up - Fun Books for Addition

Hey all ! I have that  fun new addition and subtraction activity pack in my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook store for you. Below I have a peek at the cover. If you click on it you can see it at my TPT store. If you prefer Teachers Notebook, click here. I wanted to follow up with a few suggestions of great math trade books you could use when you teach addition so I have shared a couple of ideas below. I am sure I forgot a good one or you may know one that's not on the list so please comment and tell what math book you like to use for addition.

Here is the cover: It is officially titled Fall Themed Addition and Subtraction Story Problem Pack.







Here are some children's math literature that go well with addition lessons. Click on the pics to get details from Amazon.



I love these Brian Cleary Books.
They are so colorful and fun, plus they are informative for the kiddos. Now I have had Brian Cleary books in my room for a lot of years, but just now typing his name, I wonder - is he related to Beverly Cleary, or just a coincidence?

 


12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
 



Hershey Kisses Addition Book by Jerry Pallotta

 

Pigs Will be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money by Amy Axelrod
 I had a few kids who LOVED pigs last year and they enjoyed this book.
 

The m&m's Counting Book by Barbara McGrath I used to use this with real m&m's but sadly district rules prohibit that now. Oh well! The little ones still enjoy this book even without the actual candy!

 
Each Orange had Eight Slices by Paul Giganti



Have a restful Sunday night, everyone!

 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Seven Super Fall Books for Kiddos

It's almost that time again! The days are a little shorter and the nights are a little cooler. In the classroom you may be pulling out those books about fall. Whether or not it's part of your curriculum, curious kiddos will often pick up a book to learn about the seasons. Here are a few ideas for your classroom.

Fall Weather -Cooler Temperature is organized and helpful to your instruction as a teacher but also colorful and appealing to your students.


Why do Leaves Change Color has been in my second grade library for years! Great accompaniment to our science curriculum.

Very good for kids as young as 2!


                                       Oh my gosh, who doesn't love what Lois Ehlert does?



This book may not be in print right now but you can still get it Amazon. Has some information on what happens to animals in the winter.



Fall Harvests Bringing in Food: I like the twist on this fall book where they are looking at what food is ready in the fall and what a harvest is.



Very sweet little board book for the wee ones!