Friday, September 27, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!!! This has been the loooongest week and I'm so thankful it's finally Friday. I will not have any time to rest this weekend, it's my dad's and my nephew's birthday tomorrow and I have a ton of lesson planning to do, but I still love that it's officially the weekend!

This week I'm going to do my first Five for Friday Linky. Keep reading to see what we've been up to in my classroom this week.

My 4th grade class has been hard at work learning main ideas and key details. This week we read the first chapter of their first non-fiction novel study unit. After reading the first chapter, three times, they complete a main idea and key details thinking map. My three boys were so proud of their work that I just had to put it up on the hallway board! 

Can you tell that we are going crazy over main ideas in my room? This anchor chart was made with my 3rd graders. They are really struggling with main idea. They can give me a million key details, but they think those are the main idea. To try to help them determine main idea from key details we watched a little brainpop video. After the video we gathered our thoughts and made this anchor chart that they can use as a reference during our group time. 

 I was finally able to get some work up on my word wall. I was told that we were not going to be able to have a word wall this year but I just couldn't do that. So, I'm using it for my first graders to post their letter anchor charts. We have been working on letters, sounds, and recognition this week; yes, my littlest babies are that far behind =( After spending 2 days studying the letter A we created this anchor chart to show what they know. It took a lot of prompting but they were able to get it together! I love "Asia" and "Alaska" I didn't even help them come up with these two words =D

So, I ran out of color ink about 2 months ago and just keep forgetting to buy more when I head out to the store but I really wanted to get my Focus Board up and running so please excuse the super messy hand written pages. My board probably isn't like most of yours, but I'm working with 5 different grade levels and it's hard to fit everything in that you would need. I decided to go with a simple board that my students could understand. In my 3rd-5th grade groups we are all working on determining main ideas and recounting key details so I made this our focus for the board. I used clear page protectors to slide the pages into so that I can easily change out my vocabulary words before each group arrives. The sight words are the same for all 3 grade levels; my little babies just need all the help they can get when it comes to reading. These 15 words were the top mispronounced words across my groups. We will rotate words out once they master that word 5 times in a row on 5 separate days. 
We held our very first curriculum night on Thursday, and boy was I tired! I was at school for over 14 hours! I was really excited to participate in this event and couldn't wait to meet with my student's families and get to know them all better. Well, this is what my room looked like the entire night =( On my hallway, only 2 parents showed up and neither of them were mine. Our school sent out so many reminders to families but for some reason they just didn't bite. I'm trying to think of ways to get them involved for next years night (if we hold it again). I know that they parents would have really appreciated the activities and suggestions we all had for helping their students but I just don't think they knew exactly what a Curriculum Night was supposed to be therefore they didn't attend. 

Well, that's it for the night! What have you been up to this week? Link up at Doodle Bug Teaching and let me know.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Research Project Folders

Good Morning Everyone. I hope your Sunday is off to an amazing start. I plan on sitting around in my PJs all day and watching movies with my hubby!

Earlier this week I was asked to be a guest blogger for Minds In Bloom! Rachel is such an amazing blogger that I was so honored when I received the email asking to blog. I wrote a blog post all about how to organize and set up a research folder for your students. These research folders truly are amazing! They will save you and your students so much time and really help take away the pain of getting your students to complete their research papers.

Head on over to Rachel's blog and check out my fun new way to organize and set up a research folder project. Be sure to come back and let me know what you think. If you use this in your classroom I would love for you to send me pictures and feedback of how it went.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Favorite Fall Book "Linky" and a Freebie

You know fall is in the air when all things pumpkin start showing back up in stores and restaurants! I love fall, and pumpkin for that matter. Fall is my favorite time of year. Sipping coffee, reading while all bundled up, and watching the leaves change colors. It's wonderful!

To celebrate fall I'm having my very first linky party! What better way to celebrate than to help each other come up with some wonderful new ideas for fall read alouds. Share your favorite fall book, tell us what it's about, and give us some ideas of how we can use the book in our own classrooms.

Here's my current favorite fall book.

Click here to go to Adventures in 2nd Grade's activity. 

Now, if you'd like to link up just click the picture below, save it, and open it in either a Word Doc or PowerPoint Presentation. Use text boxes to fill in your information. After everything is complete save your file as a JPEG image so that you can easily upload it to your blog! Also, make sure to link back to the linky and grab my button and add it to your blog post. 

I can't wait to see what some of your favorite fall books are! 

Thanks for sticking around through the entire post. I wanted to let everyone have the opportunity to get my newest freebie while the school year is still young. Head over here to grab these adorable Word Wall Headers. I would love feedback =D 

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Classroom Bulletin Boards

Well, we are headed into the last two days of week 5 at my school and I just got to work with students for the first time. I was so excited to have some little babies, of my own, to teach today. I've been in and out of classrooms filling in, helping in the media center, doing some administrative tasks, and lots more but I've missed having students in my classroom. I've been holding out on posting any classroom pictures, because nothing has been done since pre-planning; I've only spent a few hours in my classroom this entire year =(

Here's a few pictures of my bulletin boards. Enjoy!

Learner Expectations. I decided to not have "Rules" but rather to have expectations. These work great for all grade levels and I don't have to have simple rules for my lower grades students. 

I was loving my neon bright word wall until I found out that we aren't allowed to have word walls this year! Say What?! I don't know what I'm going to replace it with yet. 

Please ignore my ugly orange construction paper. I was playing around with how I would arrange my focus board material and forgot to take them down before snapping a picture. 

My little reading nook will look fuller soon. I've ordered so many books that I can't wait to fill up my red bins with leveled books for all of my kiddos. Right now the rid beans are grades 2-5 and a bucket of mixed non-fiction text. I was also able to scrounge up some first grade books from an old supply room (the white baskets) and I found some books on tape (black crate) that I'm going to make into a little listening center. 

September 2 was our day to change our hallway boards. This months theme was Reading. I wish I had some student work to put up or some time to actually make something super cute but I throw this together in less than 10 minutes because I'm never able to get to my room to work on displays. In the middle you see a Magic Tree House Book about space and on the neon tags I recommend a book about space for each grade 1-5. I also threw some little mult-color stars (yes, the ones we use to put on student's work) around the background to give it a little more since it's so plane. 

How are your rooms coming together? I can't wait to actually get to be in mine and get some student work samples up to share with you all! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Making Time For Yourself

School has been in session for a month now. The teachers have all been running around like crazy trying to get all of our beginning of the year testing, assessments, and assignments completed. We have attended so many trainings, meetings, and workshops that you would think it's January not the beginning of September.

I'm saying this because I wanted to make sure to remind everyone to take a time out, relax, and make a little time for yourself, your family, and your friends. I realized how much I needed to do this after spending my entire weekend working on lesson plans, creating my school's website, working on a data presentation for the county, and doing a little research online.

I only get every other weekend with my husband; he's a police officer so he works crazy shifts! This past weekend was one of my few weekends that I should have been spending time with him and family but instead I wasted spent the whole weekend working on school projects, data, etc. Sunday night it hit me... I only spent about 3 hours with my husband that didn't include school work! =( That's just crazy!

I know we are all busy. I know we all want to get EVERYTHING done. I know we are all running around thinking "there's not enough time in the day!" And you're right, the beginning of the year is probably one of the craziest times of year for a teacher. But you have to remember that you have a life outside of your classroom and your school. You have people who depend on you, who want to spend time with you, and will never say a word because they know that you strive to be the best teacher you can be.

Thank you for everything you do! Thank you for taking your personal time and working so hard that you only get 4 hours of sleep a night! Thank you for being the amazing educator that you are! Take care of yourself and keep yourself and your family healthy (mentally and physically) so that you can continue to be the very best for you, your family, your friends, your students, and your co-workers.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September Currently

It's that time again... Currently time that is!
I just love these monthly currently blogs and I can't wait to go back and see what I've accomplished and what I still need to work on from previous posts.
If you would like to participate, and I hope you will/do, then head on over to Oh'Boy 4th Grade and link up.

I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain most of these but I will explain the bottom portion; this is the "Love Yourself Spot." In this section you were asked to write about three things you want to accomplish this month that make you happy. 
1. I love running, but my arthritis keeps me from exercising as much as I use to. I want to start exercising for a minimum of 2 hours per week this month and work back up to running 5+ miles a day. 
2. Make more time for me - I spend about 99% of my "free" time working on lessons, researching ideas for school, working on projects I was assigned from my principal, etc. This month I want to take time out for myself and do the things I love like reading, playing video games, and spending more time with friends and family. 
3. There is nothing I can do to change annoying policies (no tennis shoes ever =0 ), unnecessarily long meetings, or all the other small things that happen within a school building, district, state, or nation. My new motto is "Smile and nod and get on with you day!" and  "If I can't change it, I don't need to stress about it!" 

I hope you all had a wonderful August and I'm excited to hear all about your plan for September! Let me know if there is anything special you would like me to blog about this month or any questions you have that I can address. Have a wonderful night!