Saturday, August 31, 2013

SLANT and People Crayons

So someone came to our front door today, which we hardly ever open unless it is for pizza or someone who doesn't normally come over, and my SLANT box had arrived! Pam from Moments to Teach has sent me a great box full of wonderful tools to help me get started with my anchor charts adventure.

Look at all these awesome goodies! Thanks, Pam! I cannot wait to use it! 

Also, since it was 102F before noon today, my sweet 3 year old and I had a craft day. We made people crayons. We have made these before, but we made disk shapes. Here is what we used. 

You don't have to use crayola, but they work much better than other brands, especially if you mix colors. 

So we took the paper off all the crayons and broke them into pieces. Each person had 2 crayons worth of wax. 

Then we cooked them for 16 minutes at 250F. We let them cool for 30 minutes before I popped them out and an hour before we used them. 

Both my 3 year old and my 1 year old enjoyed using them, and they could grip them really well in a people shape. We had so much fun we had to make more, so we searched the house for two more packs of crayons and made mixed people. 

We just broke them all into little pieces in a bowl and filled all the people. We still used 48 crayons to make 24 people. 

We had fun, and it was so easy! Who won't like coloring with multicolored people?

First Week Survival and Erin Condren Teacher Planner

So the first week of school is over and I think teachers and students alike have earned this three day weekend. Between the constant roster changes (new additions, students who never showed, and flip-flopping), mountains of papers due to different people by Friday (I just thought of one I forgot to turn in), trying to get all classes to the same point in my schedule, and the 4 student-teacher conferences already, I am exhausted but happy to be back teaching. I truly love it.

At the end of the day Friday, I came home to my sweet destructive babies and saw a week's worth of a mess of a house and a package at the door. 

I knew exactly what it was: my new teacher planner from! I knew what had to be done. We had to clean the house and reward ourselves with getting to open the package. So we knocked out the playroom (garage turned into a child's dream) in 10 minutes, moved on to the living room and dining room with Emily pushing around the shopping cart and collecting toys in it, then we even swept all the little people and balls from under the couch. Then we got to open this greatness:

I am in love! I got a teacher planner in Instagram (that is the cover design name) and a free set of elastic bands. It came with a ruler bookmark, personalized gift tags, and 3 $10 coupons. If you haven't seen these teacher planners, you must watch the intro video here

*WARNING!!! If you watch the video, you WILL want this planner, and it is $60. No one warned me how much it was before I watched it, and I was hooked and had to justify my $60. I love it, and I hope I find it useful all year. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day and Room Reveal

Today was the first day of school, and it went pretty well. I got all my signs and decorations up. I am so excited for students to get to use them! 

I have 120 kids in 4 science classes. My teammates are awesome teachers and people. I am very blessed :)

My room:

Verb wall
Absent board

Help wall

Scientific method

Word wall (cabinet)

Early finishers and think tanks board

Non-fiction text structures

First day activity

Did I mention I love teaching?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Partnering Up and a Freebie!

A few posts ago, I had shared some iPartners, a fun way to partner up your classroom kids. Well, since school is starting Monday, and I have a team this year, we all decided to use iPartners. So I made each of them their own set based on their class theme.

Now I have iPartners Science,

iPartners Hollywood,

iPartners America,

and iPartners Math.

I also made a special one, just for y'all for free. Introducing iPartners Roberson Family (a.k.a. Duck Dynasty)!

If you like this idea and would like to custom order an iPartners, just let me know!

Now, my classroom is done, my roster will be finished in October (J/K), and I am done with school prep for the weekend. I can focus on kids, my husband, family and friends so I can be relaxed and ready for the crazy on Monday!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to get Parents to Get Supplies for your Lab

I know it is late, and I am about to go to bed, but I wanted to post this freebie that took my 30 minutes to write and 7 hours to complete (bless the children). This is a tip on how to get parents to help supply your classroom from the start. We do this in the science lab every year, and even do it again once we have Open House later in the year. Just make sure you give the kids some type of reward for bringing in extra supplies. We have a ticket system at our school, so each item brought in is worth 1 ticket. Click the picture to get the how to.

Enjoy and goodnight!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale

Now that we have all had the chance to get an idea of what we want for our rooms, and some of you have already started teaching, how about a sale to get new resources for your kiddos?

How about a Back to School Sale at TpT? August 18th-19th use the code BTS13 to get up to 28% off. I am already stocking up my wishlist with some new items from some of my favorite TpT authors!

Of course, there is The Science Penguin Weekly Warm-Ups. I already have the first set, and now I need the second!

The Rachel Paper Collection and Lab Equipment Clip Art by Ashley Hughes matches my robot theme so well! I will have to have that!

What are you going to get?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Liebster Award

Wow! I was nominated by Animal Crackers and Apple Juice for a Liebster Award! I am so happy to have such nice fellow bloggers who read my blog and we all get to connect. I am really excited about this. Thank you!

The Liebster Award is for new bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and it is a great way to get your blog out there and get other people's blogs shared. It is a nice honor, so here is my acceptance.

To accept, you have to

  • nominate 3-5 blogs with less than 200 followers
  • answer the questions asked by the nominator
  • share 11 random facts about yourself
  • create 11 new questions to ask your nominees
  • contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them
So here are my 11 random facts about me:
1. I love the smell of crisp apples.
2. I will rearrange your dishwasher if you leave it open or let me. There is a RIGHT way :)
3. Science is in my heart. I cannot help but find the science behind any situation.
4. Friends is my favorite tv show ever. I have seen every episode at least 6 times each and play Friends trivia with my brothers and sisters.
5. Coloring is my calming activity.
6. We had a cabbage patch who went on vacations with us before we had kids.
7. I cannot get rid of my jeans that are 2 sizes too small, just in case.
8. I can play Lego video games for hours.
9. I am in a public group lobbying for a Christmas movie cable channel so I can watch Christmas movies all year long.
10. Peeling dried Elmer's glue off my hands is fun.
11. I buy nail polish and sometimes never use it though my nails are always polished. It is my impulse buy.

Here are my answers to my nominators 11 questions:
1. Do you have an inspirational teacher hero: Who and why? Mrs. Sitzler in 8th grade Algebra. She made it cool to be good at math.
2. What is your favorite children's storybook? I still love reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I read it to my kids now.
3. What is your best advice to give to a new teacher? Try to take as little home to work on as possible. Enjoy your time not being a teacher.
4. Do you like beachy vacations or visiting mountains? I am terrified of sharks, and I love the smell of crisp, cool mountain air. Mountains.
5. Describe how you unwind after a hard day at school. I like to bake something, color with my daughter and play with my kids. I can easily forget about the hard day that way.
6. What are your favorite sports team's colors and why? Texas Rangers red, white, and blue. I love the team, I love Texas, and the colors match the Texas flag.
7. What state would you like to teach in (beside your own)? I am not sure what state, but I would love to be a teacher in Finland. Teachers there seem to be so respected and honored by all. Wouldn't that be nice?
8. Which do you prefer, primary or intermediate? Why? I love right where I am at. 5th graders are still young enough they want to please you, and they are old enough they get what you are saying and can critically think at a higher level.
9. Do you favor a teaching strategy in a certain subject? I love teaching science. We usually have a class discussion, an activity/lab, then we journal. I really get to see what the kids know and love hearing them talk about science to their partners.
10. What is the best way that you give yourself a break during the school day? I sit in my super comfy hardly used chair, grab a small hand full of Jelly Bellys, slip my shoes off and enjoy. Then I am back to it!
11. What did you begin a blog? I really wanted to have an outlet for sharing and collaborating with other teachers. There are so many great ideas and stories out there, and I feel connected when I get to be a part of that.

Alright, here are my questions for my nominees.
1. What is your favorite subject to teach?
2. What was the best piece of advice someone gave you about teaching?
3. Do you have a favorite topic/theme you love getting to teach? What is it?
4. If you could create and after school club (or already do one) what would it be and why?
5. Do you prefer painted walls or white walls? Why?
6. What do you think about when you see your favorite color or pattern?
7. What do you do for fun when not in school?
8. What do you do for fun while in school?
9. What would you do in a teacher talent show?
10. How do you balance work and home?
11. Why did you start a blog?

And my nominees are:
Amy at Math, Science, Social Studies...Oh My!
Ariel at My Life in Verbs
Emily at Confessions of a Third Grade Teacher

Friday, August 9, 2013

Instead of "I Don't Know!"

How many of us have let kids just check out with an "I Don't Know," and then we move on to someone else? We cannot do this!

In my class, students know they cannot get off the hook with IDK. They have options. They can Phone a Friend, where they get to have someone else give an answer, then they must confer with that friend and decide if they want to take that answer or if it sparked some other answer. They can Tag Out, where they get to call on a friend to answer the question completely knowing that the next question asked is coming straight back to them and then lost this option for the rest of the class. They can Buy More Time, where they can choose for you to move on to another question or whatever in class and they have to get back to you you (in 5 minutes, by the end of class, ...) with an answer. If they choose this option, it better be the right answer since they had more time to think or check resources. Their final option is to get a Classmate Clue, where a classmate can give them a clue, not the answer, and then they will be able to answer.

These have to be taught to the students when you first start classroom discussions. That way, they options come naturally to them later and everyone is one the same page when we are all talking. I made a poster set for my classroom to remind the student of their options once we have learned them all.

Click on either picture to get the posters for your class. I hope you find it helpful for getting those "I Don't Know"s out of your classroom!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Made it Monday (on Tuesday): Cookie Sheet Calendar

I know it is Tuesday,  but yesterday I left home at 8am and got home after 11pm and then had late late date night with the Hubby, so I never got the chance to post my Made It Monday.

This week, since my room is all robot theme, I made a new cookie sheet calendar. I love these, and think they are so cute. 

You need a cookie sheet, any size, a few different scrapbook papers that go together, mod podge, paintbrush, strong magnets (I like the neodymium super strong small magnets), cement glue (E6000 or something like that), ribbon, glass beads with a flat bottom, ruler, scissors and decorations like stickers, clip art, or cut outs.

First, determine how wide your cookie sheet is and how far up you want your calendar part to go. Divide the width by 7 and the height by 5. This is the size of each day rectangle. You will need 35. I used the medium cookie sheet from WalMart and so my rectangles were 2" x 1.25" each. I used 2 different papers for the calendar, gears and black glitter. Brush the mod podge on the cookie sheet and attach the rectangles. I would start fro the bottom corner and work up.

Then make day labels and month labels for the computer or draw them. I wrote the days and printed the months.

Mod podge the days above the calendar part and add a place on the top where the months can be attached. Next add embellishments like stickers or other themed things. I printed out the clip art the calendar matched and added them all over.

Laminate the months. Either attach magnets to the backs of each or make magnets to attach each t o the front. I was low on magnets, so I just made 2 matching magnets by clipping the thin wings off 2 brads and gluing magnets.

To make the dates, print off small numbers spaced apart so you can cut them out (I also printed off holiday pics for some, too). Don't forget a 25/31 and a 24/30 for those few months they are needed! Now mod podge those to the flat side of the glass beads. You will be able to see the number through the rounded side. Now use the E6000 glue to attach the magnets to the beads. The magnet goes on the paper side. Put glue on the magnet and on the bead and stick together. These need to dry for about a day.

The last part is to add a ribbon to the top so you can hang your calendar on your wall. Use the E6000 glue again, and attach both ends of the ribbon to the back side of the calendar. Now all your extra magnets and days go on the back while it is on the wall, out of view, and conveniently kept for next month. If you just made 2 magnets to hold the months and didn't put magnets on each month, add a library pocket to the back to hold them :)

Hope you like it and find it easy to make!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2 Birds, One Blog: August Currently and Back To School Goals

I am loving the linkys (click the pictures to join), so I am doing two today in one post, so I will keep my explanations short :)

First, I have August Currently with Oh Boy, 4th Grade.

Here is my August Currently:

Listening: the news is always o at our house in the background. My husband is a police officer, and I think it is just second nature for him to know what is going on...repetitively...7 times a day. Oh, well. I don't mind. Fox 4 can be pretty entertaining sometimes :) I wish I was listening to some songs to sing to since the kids aren't here to wake up as I bust a note (they are loving on Grandma right now)!

Loving: reading all of the posts from fellow bloggers. There are great ideas, motivations and stories to get back on track for the school year!

Thinking: about how great this school year will be. I am so excited about my team, our schedule, Think Tanks, our new batch of kiddos, and my room!

Wanting: some playtime with my kids. We are limited what we do out of the house with a new walker and 105F outside everyday, but we have plenty to do inside, and I can also back out the car and put a pool in it's place in the shade!

Needing: millions of dollars to buy all the things I need to make all the things I have found on blogs, pintrest and TpT (any donations?).

Back 2 School Must Haves: I noticed I forgot to add that, so here.
1. Some Magic School Bus chapter books. I just found out about these, and I need them!
2. Some cute duct tape to wrap my glue bottles (thanks I'm Lovin Lit!)
3. Glitter binder. Need it!

Alright, Back to School Goals Linky with I {heart} Recess.

Personal: I want everything to be perfect the first time kids walk in the week before school to get their schedules. It might not happen, and I need to be okay with that (as long as it is perfect by the first day of school).

Organization: My classroom is wall space challenged. It has buttons and switches and boxes and other impediments throughout randomly being a science lab. I will make it work!

Planning: I like having a few weeks planned at a time so I can focus on all my other responsibilities and wants at work. Week one is almost done, so let's kick it up and get week two!

Professional: I am science lead at my school and I will mentor 2 teachers and have 3 new science teachers this year. I want to make sure they have everything they need to feel confident about the start of the year. I can always wing it if I have to, but I don't want them to have to.

Students: What could we possibly need this year that students will run out of or not have? Sales are for a limited time, and supply does not always refresh in time. I need to anticipate what will be needed.

Motto: I am a positive person 99% of the time. My teammates have seen the smidge of negative, but it is so rare. Am I lying to myself, holding it in, or do I just love teaching so much the negative doesn't really matter? I am going with the last one :)

That's it! Goodnight! I have GT training all day tomorrow, and those advanced labs aren't going to perform themselves!