Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daily Five Friday (Saturday) Freebie

 I have been working like a wild woman to transform my humble classroom into a Hollywood extravaganza.  I am implementing the Daily 5 and Cafe this year in my classroom.  A few weeks back I created and posted CAFE posters.  Now I have created mini posters for the Daily 5 choices.  I am still new to this whole creating and posting thing, so hopefully you are able to download my posters. 

I find and rip-off, steel, or borrow my images from google images.  I know that the "Admit One" was a download from Mrs. Van Dyke's website.  Please know that I only use these images in my classroom and do not profit from them in any way except for the warm fuzzy feeling of creating something fun and exciting to help liven up my classroom and facilitate learning in young children's minds.  Enjoy!

I am excited to finish my room and post some pics next week.

Now it is your turn.  If you have a great freebie or want to find a great freebie hop on over to Blog Hopper and join in all of the Friday Freebie Fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here is my Room! (The Unfinished Version)

I hated to miss out on all of the fun because my room is not yet complete, so I am giving you a sneak peek at my thought process.  I have been working in my room for days, but it really has a long way to go. 

The first three picture are what my room looked like when I walked in to my classroom last week.  Look how shiny my floors are.  There is nothing a beautiful as freshly waxed floors just waiting to be walked on for the first time of the new school year.  I tip-toe around in my bare feet just to keep it that way.  Just kidding, but I do try and not scuff it up while I am rearranging my room.  The maintenance workers want us to put a map of our classroom before we leave for the summer.  I can't do that.  I look for inspiration all summer long, and then I am able to look at my room and arrange it for the new school year once I get there.

The view from the back of my room.

The view from my doorway.

View of the back of my room.

The next three pictures are what I have accomplished so far.  I spend a lot of time contemplating where I want everything.  Unfortunately I was not able to keep all of my stuff.  I have had to streamline to accommodate my desire to Daily 5 and CAFE this year.  Also, I have moved down to 3rd grade so I am really changing up my room.  I was given a huge rug from a coworker coming into my building and one was left in the room to put in my classroom.  I am so excited to get all of my children up on that rug for whole group instruction.  My kiddos will be able to use the computers for listen to reading.  I also have my tape recorder the for the children to listen to books as well.

My computer area.
I am going with  a Hollywood theme this year.  Sorry the top of the board got cut off.  This is going to be where the students will check-in for their lunch, sign-out to go to the bathroom, exchange their pencils, and get paper.  I will put some clever movie type saying here. 
This will be my supply/check-in area.
 This will be where the students will get the materials for Word Work.  I have stamps and pads, pipe cleaners, reading rods for Making Words, magnetic letters, pencils boxes with sand and clay.  On the top in the pop corn container there is write on wipe off handwriting cards, mini magnetic erasers, fine point expo markers, and pointers for working with the word wall.
This is where I plan on keeping my Work Work materials.
 I suffer from last-minute-itis, so next week when it has to be done, I will post pictures of my completed room.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out Blog Hoppin' to see all of the rest of the awesome classrooms out there.  There are so many talented, hard-working, and awesome teachers out there.  I am glad to be to be surrounded by  so many people who make me proud to say, "We are teachers and this is what we do!"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Teacher Monday

My daughter and I making ornaments for her teacher.
My husband, son, and daughter

Tell us a little something about you.
I am a wife and a mom.  I have been married to my husband for almost 17 years.  I took a short break from teaching and became a sales associate for a now defunct home improvement chain and met my husband while I was working there.  He even proposed to me on bended knee in the flooring department.  How romantic don't you think?  Three years later while subbing in my now school district I had my first child, a son, Joshua.  Five years later while teaching in my now school building I had my second child, a daughter, Elizabeth.  They are now 13 and 9.  And I am old. 

How long have you been teaching?
I taught at a small christian school for 3 1/2 years, took a break, subbed a year, and now I have been at my current job for 14 years.  So my grand total is 18 1/2 years. Yikes!!!  You would think that I would have my act together by now.

You might not know...
I have always wanted to be a rock star.  When I turned 40, I somehow knew that was not going to be my reality.  But, I have been able to have some pretty awesome singing gigs.  I sang to my husband at our wedding while holding his hands and looking into his eyes. Not a dry eye in the house.  I had to however threaten my now husband of 17 years, that if he cried I would kill him.  Then I had the opportunity to sing the same song at the vow renewal for my parents 25th anniversary.  Priceless memories.

 What are you looking most forward to this school year?
Teaching third grade and Daily 5 and CAFE in the Classroom.

What do you need to improve?
I really need some help in paperwork and material organization.  My way of thinking says, "If I put it on my table, I will know where to find it when I need it."  Here is the problem  I don't have a desk. I station myself at my "U" table.  After about 3-4 days, I look as if I am barricading myself behind a walled fortress.

I would also like to improve on timely feed back to my students regarding their daily work and homework.  I end up with stacks and piles of work to grade when I go to do report cards.  I am trying to solve this problem in two ways.  Less more meaningful work grading many items together as a class.

Lastly, I want to use more formative assessment, especially in the area of literacy.

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
This past year I was given an Elmo and digital projector to use in my classroom.  Can I just say, It was one of the best tools that I have ever been given to teach with in my teaching career.  I packed up my overhead and got rid of it.  I never want to use that thing again.  I could show clips off of the Internet, put a picture book up and read it and the entire class could see it, put up student work, and much more.

Now it's your turn.  Click on the frog below and link up and tell about yourself!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Little Dresses for Africa

On Saturday my daughter and I had the pleasure to attend a fundraiser for a great organization, Little Dresses for Africa.  This organization was started by an amazing woman who attends my church.  She went to Africa and came back with a heart to let the little girls know that they were special.  It started with a few ladies making a few dresses and has grown to touch girls and boys in Africa and in other places of need.

Rachel gets dresses from all 50 states and has gotten thousands of dresses donated.  The shipping of these dresses to Africa can be costly.  That is what the fundraiser was all about.  They were also collecting school supplies for a school in Malawi.  It was a great day and in the end they were able to raise over $13,000. 

If you are looking for a good service project for your classroom or your school, please check out all of the good that Little Dresses for Africa is doing. 
My daughter is the one riding in front.  She loved every minute of it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Target Giveaway

Set this Circus Down is having a $25 gift card giveaway.    If you are anything like me, you are still in   need of those fabulous Dollar Bin Deals that they have at Target.  Hurry, the giveaway ends tonight.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top Three Things

Simply 2nd Resources is hosting a great Linky Party. 

This got me to thinking, "What are the top 3 things that I should concentrate on this year to have my students be most successful?"  I am switching grades this year so the thought of that has been overwhelming to me all summer long.  I think that it is good to try and narrow down my thinking to my top three, most pressing, needs as the school year approaches.

1.  Classroom Management

This year we are implementing a new Positive Behavior Support (PBS) system school-wide.  We wrote a grant to help us implement this.  We will all be focusing on clear cut procedures and consequences.  Each classroom will have to use a clip chart.  I have found many great charts as I have been looking through the blogs.  Recognizing positive behavior is key in this system as well.  There is also a large component of record keeping with this system, and I am not the best at keeping up with records.  The best thing of all is that I am the chair person of the committee that is responsible for implementing and maintaining this system. Thus this is an area that I have to focus on.

2.  My Literacy Program

Ever since my daughter started struggling with her reading in 1st grade, I have been on a passionate pursuit for a more effective way to teach my reading program.  I had a daughter who did not like school or reading.  She was given all kinds of support at school through pull-out programs.  This just made her feel singled out and this caused her to withdraw even more.  I really began searching for a way to help her and along the way discovered some great research.  I stumbled upon Daily 5 and CAFE in the classroom.  I just went to their workshop and want to adopt the strategies that I learned in my classroom this year.

3.  Organizing my Classroom Library

I have lots of containers, lots of books, and no organization.  For years I have assigned a job in my classroom for a librarian.  This job usually consisted of someone making the bookshelf look neat.  I would begin the year with neat baskets of books that made sense to me, but I never quite finished the job.  Within week they would be a mess and I was too involved in school to sort through all of the books.  This year I am going to take what I have recently read about classroom libraries, and get my house in order so to speak before school begins. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

CAFE Freebie (I hope!)

If I did this right you should be able to click on each picture and download the CAFE poster freebie!

I think of myself as a fairly intelligent person who tries to keep up with the latest and newest.  I strive to stay current.  However, that being said, I have felt fairly unequipped for the task of creating and posting a document to download.  I don't have a milestone of folowers as my reason to create a freebie.  I was just determined to figure it out. 


Friday, August 5, 2011


I really like to teach the students art in my classroom.  In this day of justifying everything we do academically, I searched for ways to integrate art with curriculum. I found a great website called WritingFix.  On there they have this great lesson for creating a self-portrait pairing that with a mentor text and poetry lesson.

I have done this lesson for a couple of years and the kids really love it.  Today when I picked up my daughter today from vacation bible school, she had spent several days creating a self-portrait.  To my surprise it is the same lesson that I have used in my classroom.

Click on the picture of my beautiful daughter and it will take you to the WritingFix lesson.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Currently I Am

As I was surfing through bloggerland, I ran across this fun Linky Party at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

To my daughter tell me all about her time at VBS this morning.

Daily 5 and the CAFE in the classroom. Just saw “The Sisters” and
they are so infectious that I can't wait to implement this in my classroom!

Do people really care what is going on in my classroom and should try this blogging thing or just remain a stalker?

To buy an iPad for use in my classroom or better yet to write and get a grant!

To get my house clean before the craziness of “back to school” starts.

Less Ordinary Designs
Clutter-Free Classroom
Create Share Inspire

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Great Giveaway

Go over to "Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher" and check out her great giveaway!  It ends tonight at 10:00.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Clutter-Free Classroom

One of the first blogs that I found as I was introduced to the blogoshere was The Clutter-Free Classroom.  My girlfriend called me up to tell me about this blog because I told her that I was doing a Hollywood theme in my classroom this year, and she had seen the awesome ideas for themes on this site.

I was so intrigued by the name, because I never have a clutter-free classroom.  I took one look at the blog and I have been hooked ever since.  I loved the Hollywood ideas.  I plan on buying the Hollywood themed pack at her TPT store.  She is having an awesome sale right now.  If you go to the Clutter-Free Classroom blog there is a promotional code you can put in when you purchase from her store.

Also, right now Clutter-Free is having a spectacular give-away.  Click on the link below to check it out.