Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

This one goes out to Moms! 

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day! Thank you Moms for all that you do! 

If you are looking for some great books to read with your class or your own kids here are some of my favorites:
Someday by Alison McGhee is my favorite, but might cry! If you haven't read it, you have to check it out!

I am hoping I become a mom today, but we will see when baby girl wants to make her appearance! 

Again, Happy Mother's Day! Now go an enjoy your day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Winner Wednesday! STEM Memorial Day Challenge

To keep this wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week going I am linking up with Jennifer from A Day of Glue Will Do to bring one lucky teacher the chance to win a product from my store for FREE! All you will have to do is enter your name into the rafflecopter below! EASY! :)  

The product I have chosen for you to win today is new to my store! It is a STEM Memorial Day Challenge, perfect for the end of the month. Memorial Day will be on Monday, May 25th this year. To celebrate in your classroom, I have designed a full lesson plan to teach your students about Memorial Day and a challenge to allow them to work collaboratively with other students in their class to build a free standing flagpole structure. If you aren't too familiar with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) projects, take a quick look back at my post all about using STEM projects in your own classroom {HERE}. 

Included in this STEM Memorial Day Challenge is a lesson plan and teacher preparation instructions. Also, a 5 page printable packet is included for students to help walk them through the process of designing a free standing flagpole structure with a group of students. Finally, I have also included a Engineering Design Process poster to include in your classroom! 

My students love STEM challenges because they get to collaborate with other students, build structures with fun supplies from around our classroom, and be creative inventors! Here are two examples of students working on freestanding structures:
If you would like to enter to win this product for FREE please enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The drawing will end tonight at midnight so make sure to enter right away! I will email this product to one lucky winner! 

If you can't wait to get your hands on this copy, visit my TPT store and grab now! Also, feel free to follow me on Facebook or Bloglovin' for other future Winner Wednesday FREEBIES and giveaway updates! Winner Wednesday happens the first Wednesday of every month thanks to Jennifer's wonderful link up!

Happy Teacher Appreciation week!!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Secrets From The Classroom

First, Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you for all that you do each and every day to make the world a brighter place for each child in your classroom. 

Teachers are hard workers, there is no doubt about that! That's why I am so excited to have linked up with Lisa from Pawsitively Teaching and Marissa from Inspired Owl's Corner in order to bring you a giveaway to honor all of your hard work!

Now it's time to get this party started!
Secret 1: Magnetic Word Wall
In my first classroom I had a huge chalkboard in the back of my class. That year I decided to make it into an interactive word wall where my students could take down any words from the wall and take the words back to their seats. Making the word wall magnetic really helped my students because they were eager to go up to the wall and take down the words they needed. 

A few years later, when I moved into a different classroom the magnetic chalk board was out of their reach, but I put it up anyway in hopes that students would continue to use it when working on writing at their seats. However, that year I saw a drastic change in my students writing and noticed that they weren't using the the wall like my students did in years past. 

So it was time for a change. I came up with this magnetic board below using galvanized steel sheets that I found at HomeDepot
I bought 3 sheets and it wasn't very expensive! I then used duct tape to wrap the edges of the sheets because I wanted to make sure they weren't too sharp if my decorative boarder came off. Then I used hot glue to secure each sheet to the wall under my SmartBoard. It worked like a charm! It was easy for my students to access and it was magnetic so my words would stick to it with magnetic tape. 
I added bulletin boarder around the outside edge to clean up the look a bit, and what teacher doesn't love bulletin boarders?!?! I also used black electric tape on top to make a grid in order to keep the wall organized. But, you definitely don't have to do that in order to keep the wall up. I purchased these Polka Dot Letters and Words from Love to Learn on TPT. If you like them make sure to visit her store! 

Secret 2: Greeting Mat
Each morning I greet my students at the door. I have found it really benefits the students to start each day with this routine. By greeting them at the door I can gauge their mood, ask questions, listen to a quick story, help them transition from home to school, and show them that I care that they have arrived at school. It is one of my favorite parts of our morning routine because for 10 minutes I focus just on the students entering my classroom. I put aside attendance, homework, lunch money and all of those other parts of our morning in order to start each day with a smile and greeting for each child. 

Since I started teaching I have been using this greeting mat. I put it outside my door each morning. I stand to the side of the mat and students get to choose how they would like to be greeted by standing on one of the symbols:
  • Smile= A verbal "Good Morning" from the teacher
  • One Hand= A high five from the teacher
  • Two Hands= A hand shake from the teacher
  • Heart= A hug from the teacher

Having the students stand on the mat really helps me understand their morning and their personalities at the beginning of the year. Some students pick the same greeting each morning and others try to do a different greeting each day. However, it can be very telling how a student is feeling that morning if they usually go for smile each day but then come in one morning and stand on the heart. I love giving students choice throughout the day and this is just one way of allowing my students to make their own decisions. 

I made the mat by purchasing a cotton mat with rubber backing at Walmart. Then, I used permanent markers to draw my symbols. This baby has held up for 5 years and is still going strong! :)
Secret 3: Table Partner Team Tags for Cooperative Learning 
I love using numbers, shapes, and colors to help keep my student teams organized. I usually put my students in teams of 4 when forming desks. When I taught 1st grade though, we had trapezoid tables so I had my students in teams of 6. I always try to put my students in even number teams if possible so that they always have a partner to work with for different activities we do throughout the day. 
When I use desks I put each students team numbers on my table bins that hold supplies. However, when I used trapezoid tables I taped their team numbers down to the desk. 
So each student at a table gets a number, shape, and color. I do this so that I can quickly and easily partner students at their seats. When I assign partners I might say the following:
  • "Find the same color partner at your table" (blue 1&2 partner, green 3&4 partner)
  • "Find the same shape partner at your table" (triangle 1&4 partner, square 2&3 partner)
  • "Even numbers partner" (2&4), "Odd numbers partner" (1&3)
  • "Find the same number partner from another table" (#1 finds #1 from another table)
  • 'Find the same shape partner from another table" (a square finds a square from another table)
  • "Find the same color partner from another table" (a blue finds a blue from another table)
Just like that, I can quickly assign them 6 different partners! 

If I need just one or two students to do a job at their table I also say, "Number 3's from each table please collect that papers from your table". It makes assigning certain jobs to one or two students at a table quick and easy...and who doesn't love a quick set up or clean up?!?! 

I like using these table team tags more than table captains, just because it gives multiple students the opportunity to do different jobs throughout the day in order to feel more a part of our classroom.

This week I am offering these table numbers as a FREEBIE at my TPT store! I have made these table numbers in multiple colors to fit your classroom theme. I have also given you the choice to use numbers 1-6 or 1-4 depending on how you have your classroom set up with desks or tables. 

Now it's time to get this giveaway started! Remember, the more entries you have on the rafflecopter the more chances you have to win! 

Take a look at everything you could win...

One lucky reader will win this entire prize package!!!

Prize Bundle #1 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

We aren't finished yet....

Take a look at everything a second lucky winner will win!!!

Prize Bundle #2 Includes
PLUS....$140 Gift Box of Fabulous Teacher Supplies sent to you from Amazon

Be sure to enter both rafflecopters for a better chance at winning one of these amazing prize bundles!
Enter to Win Prize Bundle #1 Here

Enter to Win Prize Bundle #2 Here

You won't want to miss out on all the other great secrets being shared by successful teachers!  Be sure to check out all the other great posts below.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you for all that you do!