Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekend Reflections - First Week of School


This was a long week, but I'm here to share some things with you.

First, I forgot to take a few pictures for my classroom reveal last week and I did that this week.  So we'll start with some pictures.

I got a close up of my work board.  Love love Krista's work!  I can't stop buying it, but at least I have a good reason to use it!

Here's my attendance graph.  Each day my students come in to answer the question.  They move their name under their choice.  We always ask them how they are getting home from school on the first day of school.  It definitely helps us out.

One of my favorite things we did was talk about our summer selfies!  I printed some selfies from my summer and talked about them.  My students drew their own selfies and shared them with the class.

We spent some time reviewing class rules and writing our own.  It took a good hour to get this done.

Here's what we did.

1.  My kids brainstormed as many rules as they could think of.  I typed them all up on a document that was displayed through my projector.

2.  We had a conversation about changing the wording in a few of them.  Instead of saying don't do this or don't do that, we made it say the opposite.  Example - don't run around the room was changed to walk around the room.

3.  With my help, we combined rules and narrowed it down to a list of 6.  I try to keep it between 5 and 7 each year.

4.  I had them pick a rule to illustrate for our class book.  As they were writing and drawing, I was copying our 6 rules over onto chart paper.

5.  I usually have the students sign the chart to say that they agree to follow the rules throughout the year.  I took the picture of the rules before they were able to sign it though.

I learned a lot about my kids and really got to know them.  It was quite challenging teaching with a sprained ankle.  As much as I wanted/needed to sit down, I just couldn't.  I had to make sure my kids were in the right place during the math pre-test.  I had to walk around my new room to find materials because I was trying to learn the best way for storage of materials.  I had to walk students to recess, a fire drill, etc.  Lots of resting each night.

And now I will leave you with a quote from one of my students... We'll call her Jennifer for this post (not her name).

Me: Jennifer, it is really hard for you to write when you're talking to your neighbors.
Jennifer: Not for me.  I talk all the time.
Me: Ok, well the people around you are trying to focus so you need to be quiet.

Looks like I have my hands full!

Share a story from your week!  I'd love to hear from other teachers who have just gone back to school.

 photo signature_zpscb20f6f9.png
Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, August 29, 2014

Five For Friday - August 29, 2014

I haven't linked up in awhile, but I figured - first week of school - lots of things to link up.  Enjoy!

My fiance's birthday was last week.  His mom, sister, and nephew came over to our house last weekend so we could eat some steamed crabs!  I hadn't had any in over a year.  It was a wonderful treat and a perfect way to end summer.

A parent wrote me this note and had her daughter bring it to me on the second day of school.  Definitely made me smile and made my day easier!

I love my door!  So bright and welcoming for the students.  Each student was given a crayon on the first day of school.  They wrote their name in black marker, colored the crayon and cut it out.  I laminated the crayons and taped them up on the door.  So fun!

My fiance and I went to 2 Orioles games this week.  It was difficult to rush home from work so we could rush up to Baltimore for the games, but it was definitely worth it.  We participated in social media night before one of the games and got to listen to a Q&A session with Adam Jones.  Very fun!  I couldn't really see him while he was talking but this was him walking down the steps leaving to go get ready to play.

One of the fun things we do at the beginning of the year is create birthday cards to use throughout the year.  The students are paired up.  They interview each other using the paper shown above.  I usually try to pick people that they wouldn't normally work with.  Once they finish asking each other all the questions, they create a large birthday card.  They are only allowed to decorate the front and the back.  When each student's birthday comes around throughout the year, I put it up on the board for everyone to sign the inside.  This is how we celebrate birthdays in 2nd grade at my school since we aren't allowed to celebrate with treats.  The students love getting recognized on their birthday.  For students with summer birthdays, I usually pick a day near the end of the school year to recognize those students who can't get their card on their birthday.

Phew!  It's been a long week, but I made it.  I'm off to relax tonight.  Busy plans this weekend.  But I'm looking forward to 3 days off!

How was your week?  Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

Follow on Bloglovin

Freebie Friday - Back to School Color-by-Word and Color-by-Number

Today is Friday and that means another freebie!  You're in luck today because there are 2 freebies to help you out!

I found a great product for primary students to get back into their reading routine.

Click on the cover below to download it directly from the seller on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Students read the words and color based on the key.  Here is an example of one of the pages.  There are 3 more for you to download and use with your students.  What a great morning work activity!  Or filler for during the first few days of school.

Want a color-by-number freebie instead?  Check out this sample page from a back to school packet.  Again, click on one of the pictures below to take you to the product page on TpT.

 What morning work or filler activities are your favorite?

Are you interested in submitting your freebie to be featured on my blog and Facebook page?  Click here to fill out the form for consideration.

 photo signature_zpscb20f6f9.png
Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tips for Teachers - Management AND Random - Calming Jars

I'm back to link up again!  This time I'm bringing you a management/random tip.  Again, I can't decide which category!


I found this idea on Pinterest 2 summers ago.  I don't have credit for it, but I have pictures and directions!

Shopping list -
-mason jars (as many as you want for this project)
-glitter glue to match the color of your glitter

1.  Fill your mason jar almost completely full with HOT water.  The hot water melts the glue in order for the jar to work well.
2.  Pour some glitter into the bottom of the jar.  How much depends on the size of your jar.  I think I probably filled my jar about 1/8 of the way.
3.  Squeeze the glitter glue into the jar.
4.  After you have as much glue as you want, stir the glue and the glitter to make sure it is spread out throughout the jar.
5.  Put the lid on.  I suggest using a hot glue gun to seal the lid, especially if your students are going to be using these jars.
6.  Turn the jar upside down or shake it slightly to watch the glitter fall.

Here are my finished jars:

You can use these jars as part of a calm down station.  My students loved looking at these throughout the day.  You do need to set boundaries as to how they are supposed to be handled.

My students knew they could only turn it over once and then they had to set it on the table to watch.  If they were seen shaking it or playing with it, they would lose it.

This is a management tip because you can definitely use it to manage behavior.  It could be a reward or like I mentioned earlier, as a way to take a break and calm down.

It definitely does it's job!  I feel much better after sitting down to watch these.  The teachers at my school joked that I made them for the teachers to use and not the students.

How would you use these in your classroom?

Now, head on over to Kelsea's page to see this week's tips for teachers!

Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tech Tip - IFTTT

If you want to join the linky, grab the Tech Tip Tuesday button.  Post about a technology tip.  Then link up below!

Click {here} to fill out my form if you are interested in helping me improve my tech tips.


Want an easy way to post the same thing to multiple social media networks at one time?  Use IFTTT!

IFTTT uses recipes to control what posts on different sites.  For example, I currently have 3 recipes set up.

One of my recipes is shown below - if I post to my blog, then it will sent out a tweet.

I like using IFTTT because it saves me some steps.  I don't have to go back in and write a tweet when my blog post is published.  My Twitter followers will know when I have a new blog post and can follow the link in the tweet to the blog post.

There are many recipes already created that you can use for your own accounts or you can create your own.  There are so many options of things you can do!  Don't be overwhelmed.  Pick one or two recipes to create at a time and come back to it later.

What are your favorite IFTTT recipes?

 photo signature_zpscb20f6f9.png
Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School Memories - Sunday Night Whispers Linky

On the night before the first day of school, I am participating in the Sunday Night Whispers linky to bring you my back to school memories.  Once I started thinking, it was hard to bring you just 3!  But I narrowed it down and here you are.

Head over to Always a Teacher and Forever a Mom to see other memories and to link up with your own!

Or, just comment here with a favorite back to school memory.

Follow on Bloglovin

Tips for Teachers Weekly Linky - Organization - Word Wall

Kelsea over at Teacher Gems has started this wonderful weekly linky for tips for teachers.  I have so much to share, so here goes!  I think I'm going to share one or two tips a week.  Since I already have my tech tips on Tuesdays, I'm going to focus on the other categories.

Usually I'll make my posts on Thursdays, but I wasn't ready for it this week.  I wonder why...

Anyway, here's my first tip!

I had a difficult time trying to figure out which category my tip would fall under.  I finally settled on organization.  I'll tell you why after I show you my tip.

I have the perfect solution for hanging up words on your word wall!!

My first few years, I climbed up on the ladder and hung each word one by one.  Lots of tape.  Lots of time.  And lots of frustration!

That's when another teacher in my building shared how she hung her words.  Staple, glue, whatever you want to a sentence strip.  Then you just have to hang the sentence strip with all your words.  I found I could fit 8-9 words on a sentence strip depending on spacing.

It probably took a quarter of the time to hang up my words this way.  So easy!

Soooo... I chose organization because I can organize my words on the sentence strip before hanging them up.  I chose not to alphabetize the words under each letter, but you could.

I guess this is more of a time-saving tip, but it still fits!

So, what is your favorite organizational or time-saving tip you use in your classroom?

Now, head on over to Kelsea's page to see this week's tips for teachers!

Follow on Bloglovin