Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spreading Christmas Cheer!

This year, in lieu of a traditional Christmas gift exchange between students (giftcards, books, secret santa, dirty santa, etc) We are going to be giving gifts to people around our school who might not otherwise be recognized. Each second grade class is giving gifts to a different set of people such as: related arts teachers, grade-level assistants, special education assistants, cafeteria staff, office staff, janitors, and bus drivers. For one week, we will recognize these people by giving them a small gift every day. Instead of buying gifts, students were asked to bring in supplies for these gifts. Here is the list of gifts we are giving this year:

Monday:  *a bag of Hershey Kisses (We wish you a Merry Kissmas!)
Tuesday: * a bag of popcorn and a coke (Popping in to wish you a Merry Christmas!)
Wednesday: * Hot Chocolate (Warm Wishes for a Merry Christmas!)
Thursday: * A single serving pack of Crystal Light Lemonade and a bottle of water
                     (You light up our Lives!)

My class is giving gifts to the bus drivers. Each day a group of 5 or so students will get to deliver the gifts to the bus drivers. I am so excited about doing this! When doing gift exchanges students often get upset because they do not get the gift they wanted, or get something they already have. This way all students get to GIVE a gift and no one will be upset about what they GET!

I have posted Christmas Gift Exchange Tags on my TPT store for FREE! If you like this idea and want to do this in your classroom Please feel free to use my tags! Click HERE to get the tags!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Books Online

As a new teacher, my classroom library is not yet where I would like for it to be. Although my library is steadily growing due to Scholastic Book Fairs, book orders, classroom donations, books being tossed by previous teachers, and the books I have purchased, I have found several resources for online books that I wanted to share with you! Some of them you may already be using in your classrooms, but I wanted to make a space where you could easily access books online.


Bookflix is an amazing resource! You have to purchase a subscription to use it, but it has TONS of books that come to life like cartoons. My students absolutely love Bookflix! We watch these during our snack time. With each fiction book, there is also a nonfiction book to go along with it. for example; the fiction book Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type comes with the nonfiction book Let's Visit a Dairy Farm. The books are seperated into categories that make it really easy to find what you are looking for.

This site is called Tumble books. Our local library has a subscription to this site and you can access it by clicking on the image above. TumbleBooks are animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they love. TumbleBooks are created by taking existing picture books, adding animation, sound, music and narration to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you.

Storyline Online is a program by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. This website has members of the SAG do read alouds from great picture books. Each story also has activities and lessons. There is no membership required for this site.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

This site offers books for children to read online or have read to them. This would be a great site to use on an IPAD.

Arthur's First Sleepover

AOL kids offers great read alouds! the books are read aloud to the students. They are not animated, but they acually look like the pages in the actual books! This is a great reminder for students thats all of these online book sites are REAL books!

Barnes and Noble offers an online storytime where the books are read by the actual author. This is a great site to use during an author book study to hear the real author's voice!

I hope you find these sites as useful as I do! Please leave a comment if you use any of these sites or know of any other great sites you would like to share!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers vs. Teachers Notebook

Hello there! Boy has it been awhile! I promise to be back soon with happenings in my classroom and share some of my new items with you all, but today I wanted to write about the current questions I am having with TPT and TN. I have been a seller on TPT for almost a year now! I purchased the full membership this quarter and have been very pleased with my earnings so far. I am not a top seller or anything but I am very excited to see people purchasing my items and I have loved being able to share what I do in my classroom with so many people!

I have not yet set up a TN store, but I do notice that most of you bloggers have both a TN and TPT store. I like the idea of paying a minimal one time fee and you get your earnings immediately on your paypal account. My worry with TN is that I know it is not as popular as TPT. If you sell on both TPT and TN, do you lower the price of items on TN? Do you think it is a disservice to TPT to lower the price on something bc the percentage you recieve is higher?

I would love to hear some feedback on how TN stores are doing vs. TPT stores. I'm off to do a little investigating.... I'll let you know what I find :)

Okay so after a little searching back and forth between sites, I find that most sellers sale their products at the same price. I like this because it with holds the integrity of both sites and proves that the price of a product is related to the quality of the product itself and not the income of the seller.

I would also like to add that after searching throught TN, I love the way the products look on the site. You all have done a FABULOUS job creating pics to display your work! I usually only use TN to purchase clipart, but I will now be looking for their for other things too!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Freebie!!!

Freebie Fridays

I am linking up with TBA today to bring you a FRIDAY FREEBIE! YAY!! We have been learning about nouns this week. I made these posters that you can get here on my TPT store.
I used the posters that I made to introduce nouns. Here is what they look like:

Then I placed posters around the room with the same heading. I put the students into groups and had them carousel around the room and list as many nouns as they could thing of. Each group had 2 minutes at each poster. I had each group use a different marker. My groups worked out so that a different student got to be the "writer" at each poster. The students had a lot of fun brainstorming together and making the posters.

Next week we are going to be learning about proper nouns. I am going to have the students use post-it notes and write proper nouns for each poster. We will place these around the existing posters. Enjoy the weekend!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Math Focus Board

I have really wanted to create bulletin boards this year that were educational and could be used as a reference daily for my students. I created Math and Reading Focus boards this summer, but when school started, and we started using them, they really didn't work for me like I wanted them too. Here are my original boards:

The Reading board worked okay for a little while, but I have remodeled it. I will post more about that one later. Today I wanted to post about the math board. It turned out, that this board did not work for me at all! I had to change the posters underneath the headings daily, which was a lot of work! I tried laminating construction paper and writing on it, but it got really messy.

I searched every blog I could find for a new Math Focus board. I found this one at Life in First:

I did my best to recreate this one... and just while typing this I noticed that I forgot to take a picture!!!
My board has the Math Talk section- this is where I write about the math vocabulary for the topic we are on. I also use the "Today's Problem" poster. Our Math series has a "Question of the Day." I use this section to post the question. Students answer on a post-it and stick it on the poster. With Common Core, we are really focusing on Higher Order questioning and writing in math. I use the essential question poster to post our question for each topic. Students also answer these on post-its. My students LOVE using their post-it notes! I did not use posters for months or days of the week. I use this space instead to post posters or other pictures or cut- outs that go along with our Topic. This week we are on Topic 5: Counting Money, I have put pictures of each of the coins on the board. I really wish I had remembered to take a picture of my board!! I love the way it turned out!

If you are an Envision Math user, you may be interested in the Essential Question Posters I have created for my focus board. You can get them at my TPT store by clicking HERE. The first pack includes an essential question for every lesson in Topics 1-10.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Freebie!

Hi everyone! Happy Friday! I am linking up with TBA to bring you a FRIDAY FREEBIE!!
Freebie Fridays

I have created this Fluency pack for use with centers, small groups, or homework. The freebie contains two Tic-Tac-Toe boards for reading fluency. Students have to read the same book three different ways to get a Tic-Tac-Toe. This could be used in centers for "Read to Self" or "Read with a Partner." You could use these in a small group setting as well. I also like the idea someone gave to me as using them for homework and having the child's parents initial the boxes when the student completes the reading activity. click on any of the pictures below to get the Freebie!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Light Bulb moments after meeting with our instructional coach!

Today was a very good GREAT day! Well it was Johnny Appleseed's Birthday which was a great start to the day. We taste tested different types of apples, made a chart of our favorite types of apples, we had a mini unit on adjectives and did a little project with apples and adjectives to describe them. I haven't been doing to well at taking pictures to share with my posts but I will do better!

The great part of the day came in the afternoon when we met with one of our district instruction coordinators. She is new to the position this year. She moved to our county from Texas two years ago and taught 5th grade in our county last year. I am very excited to have an instructional coordinator from a different place. I feel like she will have lots of new things to share with us!

One thing she mentioned is that in the district she came from in Texas, they were told to use the text books and provided curriculum as A resource, not the only resource!!! This idea is not new to me, this is what we were taught to do in all of my education classed in school. However, when I got my first job last year I found that all of the teachers teach with the reading series and never stray! BORING!!! I soon learned that the reason for this is because in our county, we have been told that we need to teach our reading and math series with fidelity, meaning that we were told to basically follow them verbatim. In both teacher manuals for reading and math, there are blue words that are basically a script for the teacher to follow. I was very shocked when we were told to "read the blue words!" You mean I went to college to read from a teacher manual? I could have done that right out of high school.

With the new Common Core standards though...... the tides are starting to turn! We were advised today that because our reading series is not aligned with common core we can use the material if we would like, or we can use other resources more aligned with common core! Yay!!! So, I am on a quest to find and create the best resources for common core! Wish me luck! If you know of any great blogs out there to help me please please please let me know! I am a seller on TPT and work on a lot of (in my opinion) great  products. However, I know that I will not be able to tackle this job on my own!

Oh, and I'd like to share a little "pat on the back" moment with you all! During our meeting, she asked us to share anything that we were doing in our classrooms that might be different from everyone else or that others might like to hear about. A co-teacher suggested I share about my Writer's Workshop, so I did. She was really impressed with what we were doing in our classroom and she loved it! She said that I was the first person in the county that she had heard of doing this! Yay me :)