Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fun way to set up partners

In science, we use partners almost daily. Kids get tired of the same old same old partners. I know a lot of people have used Clock Buddies (me included) and other ways, but here is just another way to do it.

iPartners Journal Pages (click on the picture to get it)

Students use the symbols to partner up with another person. They write their names on each other's boxes with the same symbol. They only have 6 to fill out, then...they glue them in their journals! They cannot lose it unless they (heaven forbid!) lose their journals. When you are ready for new partners, do it again and add this new page to their journals.

When you are ready to partner up, just say, "Find your Recycle partner." I also like to color and laminate the large cards for each symbol. Then I can have it on the board and the students know to find their partner when they come to class without me saying anything. Then we are ready to go! Its just a fun way to do the same thing we have been doing.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It - Door Sign

I am joining the Monday Made It Linky from 4th Grade Frolics today. Click on the picture below to join!

Every teacher needs a cute sign above their door in the hallway. I don't know how many of our sweet kids check above the door to make sure they are in the right place before entering EVERY day. Since I changed from safari to robots, I had to change my door sign to match, too.

This was pretty easy and quick(ish) to make. I made it Saturday while the kids were napping. I took a piece of cardboard from one of the many Amazon.com boxes lying around and covered it in some robot fabric I found at Wal-Mart. I like using fabric or fadeless paper for my walls because they last longer and stay bright. I made sure I had enough to wrap around all the edges. On the back, it is folded over, attached with permanent double-sided tape, then hot glued. 

For the front, I found foam glitter letters at Wal-Mart (let's just save time and tell you everything was found at Wal-Mart) and glitter foam sheets. I hot glued the letters to the fabric, to make sure they would stay, and then I drew and cut out gears from the glitter foam sheets to match the colors in the robots. This was the most time consuming part. If you know me, you know the gears had to be perfect. I traced two different sized circles from each color and then I had to divide the circles into 12 even pieces. The back of the foam sheets was paper, so it was easy to draw on. This is where I am thankful for my Trig class from way back when (and you said you would never need it! Ha!). Then I drew a small line on each of the 12 lines and connected every other line with a curved one, like this:

Cut out the circle and on the bold lines. Each line is 30 degrees apart. I cut them out and hot glued them in place.

Voila! A nice, big, colorful above-the-door-sign (batman pajama legs not included)!

I cannot wait to show you next Mondays Made It. I am almost finished, but need a few more kid naps to get it done :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back To School Find!

Here is something I just found, literally 45 minutes ago. I could not wait to share it, except for the moments between getting home and now where I had to make some homemade peach ice cream real fast :)


I am joining up with Teaching with Moxie's Back to School Linky. Click the picture above to see what others have found. Here is the awesomeness I found.

Shaped stickies. Leaves, speech bubbles, thumbs up, and (my fav) iPhones. They are $0.97 at Wal-Mart for a pack of 100, and they are Wal-Mart brand. I bought 300 of each, so two sets worth of each for my group of 115. Think of the uses. Exit tickets...thought trees...anchor charts...class discussions...the list goes on and on.

I can see the iPhones used for descriptions or paragraphs. They are lined and have more space than the other shapes. The leaves could be on a bulletin board where each student gets to write something about leaves changing color and light energy (we will be doing light energy about the time the leaves start to fall in this part of Texas). The thumbs up can be used for voting or agreeing or disagreeing with a statement. They just turn the thumb the way they want when they write on it. I absolutely LOVE these, and they are so much cheaper than the $3 Post-It brands. As soon as we actually get to use these, I will post pictures of how it turned out. 

How do you see using them!

The Teaching Tribune: Hot Off the Press! Back to School Exclusive

The Teaching Tribune: Hot Off the Press! Back to School Exclusive: Hey everyone! It's Christi here from Ms. Fultz's Corner and I am so excited to be kicking off our new collaborative blog.  For th...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Robots, robots, robots

I am sure you read how excited I was to get into my classroom today. Well, I had to make some Class Schedules for my room, but I needed a background to match the cute Robots clip art from Melonheadz. After searching for exactly what I wanted (and not finding it), I figured it would take less time to just make my own. I think they are cute and came out really well, so I am going to post them on TpT. Before I do, I am offering them here for free for you, first! Once they are on TpT, they won't be available here anymore! Just click here and download them.


I went up to school today to take care of some things, and magically my room is not being used for summers school AND it has already been waxed!! Yea! That means I can start putting it together :) I am so excited! I already put up 1 1/2 bulletin boards today, found all of the decor I already had stored at school and got it out, and I started unpacking everything. I am so excited! Did I already say that! As soon as I get things up and running, I will post pictures of what my new STEM Robots room looks like. Excitement!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kiwi Crate Love!

So one of my teacher friends was looking for something to do for her sweet grandkids while they visited over the summer. She found this website, Kiwi Crate, that sends you a box once a month of activities to do for kids 3-8ish. I thought, why not? My daughter (3 years) loves crafts, and most of these are science based.

We are only 2 crates in, and we are having a blast!

The crate comes with just about everything you need inside for 2-3 activities. This month was Wonders of Water.

Each activity book has instructions on how to do the activity, plus ways to extend the craft you made, and links to more crafts you can do in the same category or with that activity you just did. This time, we get to make a sailboat (learning about force and wind power), make water colored animals (learning about mixing colors, and 2 science experiments, drops on a penny (surface tension) and clay boats (buoyancy). Each activity book has links to Kiwi's website for more on that topic.

We do these one activity at a time. Day one is one activity book's basic craft. Then we extend it after we make  it. Then stop. The next time we do something we go online and check out the extras for that activity book. When we finish those, we do another book. Each activity book can last us a week or more with the creating and extending. My daughter gets so excited about the science part (my little scientist!) that she has all sorts of questions and "esperiments" she wants to do for each one.

Have more than one kid? They have add on packs of supplies for siblings. You get the crate, but it has double the consumables so each kid has plenty. Check out the crate at Kiwi Crate!

I am just so happy we found something already put together for us to do that is fun and educational. As soon as we get through this crate, I will post about our experience with water! I try and make most things we do an educational experience from learning our alphabet while placing sugar decorations on a cake to turning our giant TV box into a rocket ship and blasting to the moon. Just so you know, almost half the nerdy things we do are my daughter's idea :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Perfection is...

I love the summer "break," but I also love teaching. I am not ready to end the summer, but I also know that school is starting soon, so my classroom needs to be awesome. An inviting classroom helps engage kids and make them want to be in your class every day. I have so many ideas for my classroom and plans for decorations. I am really excited about getting into my classroom and starting to decorate, but the school has summer school going on in my classroom right now.

For the past three years, I have had a safari themed classroom, and a garden classroom the two years before that. Since my room is a science lab, I like to keep in theme with something science-like. This year, I am changing themes to a robot STEM career classroom. Another teacher was doing a safari classroom, so I took down all of my safari stuff to give to her already. Also, my walls are supposed to be painted over the summer, so I took everything off the walls. Also, summer school is going on in my room during July, so I took all the stuff off the counters to give them space for stations. Also, since my room is tile, it has to be waxed over the summer, so everything was taken off the bookshelves, the desk, and any tables. So my room looks pretty bare right now. Well, meet the teacher/schedule pick up is 2 days into inservice. The first day with time for classroom set up is day 4. How will I fit making an inviting classroom for meet the teacher during those first 2 days? I am going to have to work before or after school and during lunch if my classroom will be the first impression I want it to be. I hate having the first thing a parent and student see being a half put together room. I want them excited to come to class from the moment they first see it.

I am sure it will all come together perfectly, but I cannot help but be anxious about the process :) In the meantime, here is a freebie. These are the gears I made for my turn in boxes for this year. Enjoy them!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Rainbow Conundrum. Help!

My daughter (who turned 3 in February) needed some motivation to sleep in her own bed at night and not on the floor of our room. She said her room was scary, and I showed her all the pretty things her aunt and I painted on her walls and decorated. It is covered in owls and birds, pinks and greens, her name on wooden pieces and other things.

The quote was left from when it was her nursery, and I couldn't get myself to take it down, so we designed her big girl room around those colors. We found a matching wall hanging set that we bought, and then she got to earn it after eating meat at dinner. Each meal she ate some meat, she got another clip to hang her art on. Now she gets to change out her work when she eats what she is supposed to.

She has her name above her bed. We spell it every night.

Before this big girl room, she was still sleeping in her crib (she was 22 months old when we moved her out of it). Now that she had a twin bed, she was scared to be alone. We painted handprints on the wall next to her bed to remind her she is never "alone." If she got scared, just touch our hands. This was cute, and worked for a bit.

Then she couldn't sleep in her own bed because it wasn't "good for girls my age." So we painted lucky mushrooms by her closet door to help make it better. Evidently pink and green polka-dot mushrooms ARE good for girls her age.

We had also painted a large tree on the wall and I cut out owls and birds that matched her bed set and mounted them in simple frames to make them sit int he tree. I attached them with the 3M wall sticky stuff. Well, when one owl fell down in the middle of the night, that made the tree scary. I could put it back up, but she told me it would just fall down again. See where it took the paint out with it? 

Then she was doing alright in her room after I fixed the owl, but then she saw Monsters, Inc. We didn't think anything of it. She saw the new one at the theater with her grandma, so we watched to first one at home. She enjoyed the second one, but she couldn't sleep in her room with a closet door because monsters might come out and scare her. So her aunt spent the night in her room and scared all the monsters away. She left a note for proof :)

 Now we are at the rainbow. After the note, we laid in her bed and looked around at all the things in her room. I asked her to point out anything that seemed scary, then I explained what it actually was. She said she needed rainbows and sparkles to make her room not so scary. So I told her if she slept in her own bed from bedtime to sunlight for 5 days in a row, I would paint a rainbow and sparkles (the red, green, violet and clouds have glitter on them) on her door.

Well, today is day 6. She will probably sleep in her own bed, since she has been, but what can I do if she needs even MORE motivation? Am I bribing her too much or is it incentive? Is she playing me to get more things on her wall? Should I just make her sleep in her own bed without a reward? I am running out of room to paint things on her walls!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Teaching with Play Dough

My daughter was talking to her daddy today about learning. He was explaining that one day she would get to go to school and learn all sorts of things (because my sister, Emily's best friend, is away at college). She started to cry, and when he asked her what was wrong, she said she wanted to go to school with mommy and be in her class.  I was so moved I almost cried :) My little girl loves to learn. We do all sorts of fun activities to help her learn her basic and not so basic skills.

Yesterday we worked on her fine motor skills with some mazes and some play dough fun. She would go through a maze, and trace back and forth the way to go. With the play dough, I would make something, then she would replicate it. Then she would make something and I would replicate it. We did that for an hour! We started with our own homemade play dough. She loves to bake and cook things. Here is a great recipe for homemade play dough, so if she loses some on the floor, its okay if her brother accidentally eats it before I get to clean it up!

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 small pack of jello (use different flavors to make different colors)

Mix everything in a small pan until most lumps are gone. Heat on the stove over medium heat stirring the whole time until it makes a nice ball. Remove from the pan and place on a floured surface and wait for it to cool (about 20-30 minutes). While it cools, we make a few more colors. Knead it in flour until it doesn't stick. The website suggested adding glitter, so you know we did! Now play!

When you are done, keep it in a tupperware or plastic baggie in the fridge until next time, no more than a few weeks. Have fun!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July Goals

I am linking up with I Heart Recess for a July Goals linky.

Here are my July Goals:
Personal: I LOVE coconut. I am constantly making things out of coconut, and I like making my own recipes. My last concoction was a coconut berry trifle with coconut cake layered with coconut cream filling and strawberries and blackberries. Delicious! I would like to try something that is not a dessert. Maybe a crusted chicken or something...mmmm...the wheels are turning...

Family: I have a 1 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. They love the outdoors, playing together and, of course, science! We were planning to go to Sea World in August, but my husband, who is a police officer, got a schedule change and we had to cancel it. Now our only chance to go do anything is a slim picking of 48 hour slots this month. What to do? We would love to go on a vacation, but it may be a stay-cation. Maybe the Dallas World Aquarium or something.

Health: At the store, we were picking up more vitamins for my daughter when she asked, "What about your vitamins, Mommy?" That is a great question. What ABOUT my vitamins? They don't exist! So we got me some vitamins and a weekly pill box (I feel like I am 70) to help me remember. We put my vitamins and hers in the box so we can remember together :)

School: As the head of the science department, a new school schedule and structure, and 2 brand new teachers, we have a lot to get ready for this school year. I am super excited, and I want to help my department be ready, but I don't want to freak them out with my enthusiasm and organization. I already made them a planning calendar with all the important known dates and our scope and sequence on it. Too much?

Blog/TpT: We are starting Think Tanks next year, and I have so many ideas for them. I posted a few that I made on TpT, but I have son many more I made that are not posted. I would love to get the chance to get more of those out there. They are fun to create, and the possibilities are endless!

Outside the Box: My kids are both table food eaters. My 24 pound 1 year old can out-eat my 30 pound 3 year old, but who is counting? They eat all day. Breakfast is whole wheat toast/toddler cereal/homemade pancakes/eggs (the / means or not and!), lunch is a whole wheat sandwich/pasta salad(to sneak in new veggies)/chicken, and dinner is all the food groups; protein, veggies, bread. The baby gets whole milk all day with a water and usually no juice. My daughter gets one chocolate milk with breakfast with Carnation Instant Breakfast (she is a picky eater some days), and one juice at some time during the day. The rest of the day is milk and water. In between every meal and after meals is snack time. My son would be happy with snack time all day long! Carrots, apples, broccoli with cheese, puffs (for both!), a slice of bread, homemade tortillas, pretzels and peanut butter, and craisins are usually on our snack menu. They eat pretty well. Now mommy: pizza for breakfast, pudding for lunch, and a few bites of dinner between getting theirs, refilling milk, picking sippie cups off the floor, and cutting pieces even smaller. Usually I wrap up the day with something quick, like Nilla Wafers after they are both to bed. I am too exhausted to make or reheat anything by then! I need to eat as well as I make them eat. Maybe the vitamins really are a good idea!

Well, hopefully that all tells you a little about me. Share your July goals with us in this linky!

That time is here...

I went to Walmart to get groceries, like I do every Sunday morning before everyone in this small town is there, and they were busily stocking school supplies. Back to School shopping is here! It took all that I had in me not to buy 20 boxes of crayons and markers and glue and scissors and cute sticky notes and zebra striped pencil bags and everything else on the aisles! They have these 8 pack crayon packs that already have the colors sorted out for you. $.78 for all the shades of red in a pack or blues or greens. They were so cute and organized, but I thought isn't this just what I did when I was a kid with my 96 crayon pack, just reorganize the colors? I didn't get any, but that doesn't mean I won't be back for some :)

I did, however, manage to get two composition books with neon plastic covers in purple and blue. That I could not help.

There was also filler paper, 100 sheets I think, for $5 because it was reinforced with neon strips. Waaaay to expensive, but super cute.

Does anyone else get sucked in every time you see school supplies?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back to School A+ Shopping Finds Linky Party

This is my first linky party, so let's hope I get it right!

You know you said at the start of June you weren't going to do any school stuff this summer, just enjoy it. Well, for so many of us, getting ready for the next school year is enjoyable. I, personally, love it! I am changing my classroom decor from safari to STEM robots. I have been looking everywhere for things to match my Riveting Robots decor from Creative Teaching Press.

There is tons of the robot set and I LOVE it! Click on the picture above to see all that Creative Teaching press has for this set.

Well, if I change the class decor, I have to change all of my organization stuff, too. The colors from my safari stuff just doesn't match, and let's face it, if you know me, I have to have it match!

I have found all sorts of things for my room to go with this, but what I really needed was folders in bright colors that seemed sturdy enough to handle daily use. My favorite are the plastic durable folders, but those are hard to find around here and the colors don't match perfectly. While I was in Dollar Tree looking for 4th of July necklaces for the kids, I just happened to wander into the teaching isle. I found these cute, bright folders! They are sturdy, have 2 inside pockets (no brads), and come in 6 great matching colors (well, 5 of the colors match, but I will ALWAYS make an exception for pink!).

They have this cute swirl texture design, and a thin layer of plastic around the outside. They even have holes to put in binders if needed. They were $1 at Dollar Tree in the DFW Texas area. Did you know that at DollarTree.com you can buy mass quantities, like 24, 36, and such? So if you needed a class set or something, you may try that instead of trying to go to a couple of Dollar Tree stores.

These will be great in my think tank tubs!

Have you found a great teacher find? Link up and share it!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I am so excited! We spent all night at the fireworks, and had a blast. Sweet Charley giggled after every single one :) Then we woke up today to go see the parade and go out with our favorite family. When I came home, a little exhausted and full, I check my blogs and yea! Melonheadz, my favorite clip art illustrator, has posted the robot clip art I requested! It is so cute and matches my room decor perfectly! I cannot wait to make so many things with this clip art. If you are in the need of some cute clip art for anything, this is the place to go.

This is the robot decor I sent:

This is Melonheadz's adorable creation:

As soon as I get some things made, I will share! Also, as soon as we can get back in the classroom, I will post pictures of my new cute decor up in the classroom. Summer school is in there all this month, so it will have to be August.

Want to see more? Check out Melonheadz Illustrating and all of her stores!