Friday, July 18, 2014

Five For Friday: Summer Slow Down!

Two posts in one week?? Yeah, I know.. I'm on FIRE! :)
I know I've been awful about posting this summer, but I have really been trying to soak up and enjoy every.   single.    minute of this break.

Last year, I was in school all summer & this time, I just wanted to do a whole bunch of NOTHING.

Which I have successfully accomplished.

This week, I received our "Welcome Back" letter from our principal, and it dawned on me that I have 10 days 'til I report for duty. Yikes!  Time to start thinking about school stuff, right?! :)

Today, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.... which is always a good time!
My week started at the beach... of course, we were loading up to leave it, but still, that's the way it started. My happy place... ahhhh.....We had sunny days, and then some crazy storm clouds that rolled in, and it was perfect.
 AND....  we found a gazillion sand dollars, which isn't all that common in the Gulf...and I got to see the GIANT Idaho potato! Yeah,'s the little things, people....

 I decided to tackle some of my "to do" list for school. So, I made my Glue Sponges.  I'm sure you've all seen these and Mr. Greg from the Kindergarten Smorgasboard made a great tutorial video about them, but I have to say I LOVE THESE THINGS! They were a lifesaver last year.  :)
 Clearly, when you hear that "Back to School" bell ringing in your head, it's time to go SHOPPING!  I've decided to do a little re-decorating this year... and I'm obviously adding some blue hues to the mix. I can't wait to actually get in my room & get started on it.  I'll post pictures soon, but isn't this the cutest stuff?? LOVE!
Since I did some shopping & loaded up on all things blue, I decided to make something I've had pinned FOREVER! Teaching with a Mountain View has this super cute organization idea for storing anchor charts. When I saw it, I knew I had to have one. In Love!  So, with a black trash can & some vinyl, I made one for myself! :)

 And lastly, because my week started at the beach, it's only fair that it ends there, too! Heading back in the morning for one last HURRAH before school starts.  That little arrow is right where my little ole' booty will be planted in the sand :)
Then, I come back and go to work... like immediately.... seriously.  
Summer obviously wasn't listening when I asked her to slow down.

I do hope you all are enjoying YOUR summers, and drinking up every last drop of awesome it has to offer.  Head on over to Doodle Bugs and link up YOUR pictures so we can all take a look :)

Oh, and lastly CONGRATULATIONS to Lisa, Hannah,and Cindy for winning my little "Pin It to Win It" Giveaway for my Back to School Lesson Plans! I hope you love them! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Back to School Lesson Plans - Pin It to WIN It!!

During the summer, I really try not to pay attention to the calendar... or to my watch. I like not having a clue what day it is, or what time it is. I stay up until I want to go to bed... I don't set an alarm to get up.. and I'm loving it!

But, it's coming.. I can feel it. It's almost time to go back to school.

Two weeks. Two days.  That's how much freedom I have left.

All the ads are every where & there's just no denying that "Back to School" is on the horizon. 

Once I'm out of the denial state, I actually start looking forward to going back to school. A whole new batch of kids, shiny waxed floors, that new crayon & glue stick smell.... I mean how many people can say that they get a new job every year?! I like that part.

New beginnings.

Along with those beginnings comes lesson plans. I wanted to share my newest product with y'all....Back to School Anchor Plans.  I'm giving away 3 packs.... just read ahead to see if you might wanna win it!
It's 154 pages of almost EVERYTHING you need for the first five days of school.
The pack includes detailed lesson plans for each day, including the related Common Core Standards.
 What else do you get? 
Graphic organizers, printables, activities, games, and more!

Books are needed for these plans, but most of them can be found online...either being read aloud, or in a format you can use in your classroom without having to buy the actual text.
The book list is included in the plans.
Each day is filled with enough activities to keep your kiddos engaged ALL day! 
There are lessons for math, language arts, reading, and writing.
There are class books, and even craft ideas included.

ALL the materials you need to teach the lessons are right inside the pack.
Just print, copy, and go!
There are even color printables to be used as activators & summarizers.
Since every class is different, most of the lessons include varying options for choosing the write printable, worksheet, or activity for YOUR learners.  

With this packet, your first week back to school will be a breeze!

Wanna win it?

I'm giving away THREE packs. 
Just PIN an image from this blog post, and leave a comment with a link to your pin, and I will use a random number generator to choose THREE winners Thursday night (July 17th)!

Good Luck, and as always, thanks for stopping by, friends! :)

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Currently & Five for Friday: TWO Birds, ONE stone!

Happy 4th of July, Friends!!
    I absolutely love, love, love Independence Day. It's just a wonderful culmination of all things summer, and a reminder to be thankful each and every single day for our many blessings. I have a bit of a patriotic streak about me, and I always tear up at the Star Spangled Banner...and fireworks, so it just makes me happy. What else can I say?!

     Anywhoo.....  I'm super duper late to the Currently party this month, and I haven't done Five for Friday in a few weeks, so I figured what a great way to kill two birds with one stone.  So, here goes....both linkies & none of which are teaching related (just FYI!).
Listening... to the news. There's been so much tragedy in the news these past few weeks that I almost hate turning it on. But, I do think it's important to stay "in the know" with current events, but man, it can really bring you down. Some people are just plain cuh-razy....and that's the nicest way I can put that.

Loving... life.  I'll be honest... as much as I hate hearing the comment, "Oh, you're a get summers off!", it really is a perk to the job. This is the FIRST summer where I have literally tried to turn all-things-school OFF, and just enjoyed the moments. Maybe it's all the bad news on TV, or some "aha" moments that put it all into perspective, but life is pretty darn fabulous. So, I'm loving it. All of it.

Thinking... I need to pack. I'm leaving for the beach in less than 24 hours, and I should at least make a game plan. I have it all worked out in my head, but that usually results in WAY too many clothes, so I need to actually start packing. I have a tendency to look like a Sherpa when I travel, so I really need to try & minimize...yeah, ok..that should work.

Wanting... to go to VEGAS!  I keep reading about all my bloggy friends getting ready to hop on a plane and head to Vegas...and I'm super excited for them..and super envious too. I really hope TpT and the I Teach conferences do it again next year, and I can go. Fingers crossed.     and toes.

Needing... summer to "tap the breaks". Seriously, it's moving way too fast. The kids start back in one month and 3 days...that's just too soon! I miss late summer starts to school. Going back when it's 100 degrees outside is just pure nonsense. Malarkey, I say.

4th Plans...  FIREWORKS!  My parents live in a little-bitty town in Alabama, but they have the most amazing fireworks show. Of course, almost all of the fireworks sold in the state are in this county so that helps, but it's just fabulous. So much so, I postponed the beach trip for a day so I could stay and watch 'em! :)

  And now for my Five for Friday...'cause I'm sure you haven't read near enough about my life... 
I'll try to keep it short :)

One of my best friends came to visit, which almost never happens. We decided selfies were totally permitted in this case, so we went with it.    So, when best friends, that you only get to see a few times a year, visit.... naturally, you've gotta ......
We spent two days just in and out of stores, and loving every single minute of it.  
Found some great deals, and made it to Ikea, where I finally broke down and got this.....
 The cutest cart on the planet.
I love her.  I have to name her.  She is going to look beautiful in my classroom. Ahhhh....
Of course this cart also lead me to buy these....
 These gorgeous bowls from Anthropologie!
 Obviously, I am in LOVE with this color, so the next project is to paint my kitchen this color.
What do you think??

I'll leave you with number 5....Gotta go pack!

I hope you all are having an amazing summer, and I wish you the HAPPIEST 4th of July!  Enjoy your freedoms... you family...and your friends.  :)

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Empowering Students: Guest Blogger!!

Hey Friends - I'm turning Friday over to my sweet friend, Kristin. She has some great ideas about empowering children, and I'm so excited she's here! :)

Hi everyone! I'm Kristin from My Carolina Classroom. I just finished my first year of teaching and I'm a brand new blogger. Kelly is kindly allowing me to take over for the day! I want to share something I feel strongly about: empowerment. Empowerment involves providing opportunities for students to make their own decisions as often as possible and letting children know that they have worth. I believe that allowing students to make their own choices leads to a stronger sense of self and belonging, which leads to a stronger sense of responsibility. When students feel valued in the classroom, they are less likely to act out and more likely to take charge of their learning.

 Here are five easy ways to empower students daily:  
1. Equity sticks - Put each student's name on a popsicle stick. Draw a stick instead of asking for volunteers, etc. Students need to know that they are equal in your eyes and have as good a chance as everyone else. This is an easy way to make sure every student participates and gets a turn before you call on a student for a second time.

 2. Parking Lot - Elementary students are so curious! My students last year could ask me questions all day long. I had to stay on schedule, but did not want my students to feel like their thoughts or questions were not valuable. So, I created our class parking lot where students could "park" their questions and comments.
I can't find a picture of my own, so I'm borrowing this one. You get the idea. Click image for source!
3. "Must Do" then "May Do" - I always have instructions projected on my board while students are working independently. I have a MUST DO list and a MAY DO list. When students finish their required work, they can choose which optional activity they will do next.

 4. Tattle Monster - Second graders are tattle tales. Tattling drives me CRAZY especially because it usually happens at inopportune times. Thus, I created the tattle monster. (Thanks Pinterest!) Students write down their tattle and feed it to the monster. I do read them at the end of each day to make sure I'm not missing anything that requires attention.
5. Work Hard, Get Smart - Empowerment often requires encouragement. We created a class chant before fall testing and used it all year long. I would shout, "Work Hard," and the students would respond, "GET SMART woot woot." They LOVED it and our chant always helped them get pumped up before a test.

These are just a few of many possibilities. How do you empower students in your classroom? I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll leave you with a quote. (Corny, I know!)

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside, and give them a sense of pride to make it easier.”
-Whitney Houston

 Thank you for having me, Kelly and Kelly's readers! Come by My Carolina Classroom any time.
My Carolina Classroom

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Let's Talk about Books {Linky!} and Go on a Bear Hunt!!

Hi Friends!
   Before I link up with the famous & fabulous Deanna Jump, there are a couple things that need to be said..

 1) June needs to slow down. Seriously.
For those of you that are just now getting out of school, I know June is moving right on time.
For those of us who are getting closer & closer to going BACK, June needs to tap the breaks....
Slow your roll, June.  For me.

 2)  I have to give a HUGE shout out to Ms. Courtney over at Blogs Fit for a Queen. She just did my blog makeover, and I think it might be the cutest thing I've ever seen.
And she did it in like 3 days..
AND she did it while attending orientation for college.
Yes, you read that right, she is 18 and headed TO college.  I mean, wowzers, right?!
She's amazing & her waiting list keeps getting longer & longer, but I seriously encourage you to head on over & check her out if you 're looking for a makeover.
Oh, and best part? She has amazing prices!!  The summer "I'm -broke-because-I've-already-started-spending-too-much-money-on-my-classroom" blues are already here but Courtney's prices are fabulous.

   Okay, now back our regularly scheduled programming....

I absolutely LOVE this linky. It makes my heart happy, and I spend hours reading everyone's posts about their favorite books.  I just love children's literature, and with so many books out there, this is a great linky to learn about some new ones to add to your collection.

However, this week, I'm going with an "Oldie, but a Goodie".

    I don't know about you, but I have such fond memories of being read to as a child.

       Great books about monsters, moons, tar babies and steam shovels.... rabbits with feelings, bears with missing buttons, and little engines that could.  Those are memories that are absolutely part of my soul... and I can't imagine life without them.  Perhaps they're part of why I became a teacher - to share the love I had for books with other children.  

    One of the greatest books is We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

Now, this book came out originally in 1989, so I was already 12 years old and babysitting some kids in the neighborhood when I first read this gem. I remember the little girl just laughing along with the book, and begging me to read it again and again. That's when you know it's a good book. Am I right?!
The book is based on an old familiar camp song or sing-along about a father and his children going on a bear hunt.  I'm sure most of you are already singing along in your head right now, as a matter of fact.
The family encounter obstacles along the way, and have to find a way to overcome them.  They go around, above, through, and under things to get to their destination. (Great for that preposition lesson, too!)

There are also sound effects throughout the book so children can read or sing along with the text.

And the best part?? You can act it out!!

Kids absolutely LOVE acting this story out.
They get to run and jump and swim all while standing right in their classroom.
Fun fun fun!! :)

The reason I am recommending this book right now is because it's one of my favorites to do on the first day of school.  We read this book, and then go on our own Bear Hunt (read: School Tour) throughout our school building!
We use these little clues, and find the bears located all around our school. The kids also get a kick out of dressing up like safari rangers to go on this big bear hunt! 

If you'd like a copy of these cards, they are in my TpT store and are totally EDITABLE for you to make your own!!  Click {here} to check them out :)

Now, I don't have a picture of my kiddos actually dressed up, but here are the important pieces of our costumes...
The kids absolutely loved doing this.

For the hats, just grab some bowls at your local grocery store or Wal-Mart. Make sure they have that plastic-y coating on them, though because you're going to spray paint them & you want it to work.  Do not get styrofoam. Just hole punch each side, as far away from the edge as you can, and run a piece of elastic cord through the holes so it will fit snugly under the kids' chins.

For the binoculars, grab two toilet paper rolls or one paper towel roll (per child), and run a piece of masking tape around both of them to tape them together. Then tape the string on either side.  Lastly, using some cute duck tape or washi tape, cover the rolls and run one piece around the whole thing to give it the look of binoculars! And, done :)

I also grabbed some fun stick-on mustaches at Hobby Lobby for the kids to wear if they wanted.

The final product was hilarious - I'm not gonna lie. 
I ended up with two boys that were the spitting image of Mario and Luigi, and it was hysterical. I mean like tears-running-down-my-cheeks funny.

But, the kids loved it, and it really made the first day...and the dreaded school much more fun! 

It's a great book & it's so much fun. Plus, this book really is a classic (or on it's way to becoming one), and I love exposing my class to old AND new texts throughout the school year.  

 Speaking of old texts, what was your favorite or were your favorite books as a kid??? 
I'd love you to share!!

After you comment with those memories, go check out the other folks that linked up this week and don't forget to start stocking up those toilet paper rolls!!! 

As always, thanks for stopping by! 

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