Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Upcycling" Highlights

While packing up my room today, I found a lot of cool things to share with ya'll, including how I "upcycled" the promotional Highlights magazines that I used to receive almost daily at my old school.

I used to take the free sheet of stickers out and then put the magazine in my treasure box, but my kiddos never picked them, and I never wanted to throw those freebies out because they are filled with lots of fiction and non fiction readings.

So, I turned them into a workstation! My third graders, on the day we did workstations, usually had a choice to do an activity from our  magazine/newspaper tub.  A tub that I filled with my "upcycled" Highlights!

To "upcycle" my Highlights collection, I had a parent helper tear out the stories/articles from the Highlights magazines I had in my treasure box.  

Then I had my parent helper glue the articles/stories onto 12 x 18 construction paper. 

All of the non fiction articles were glued on yellow paper and labeled NF and all the fiction stories were glued on green paper and labeled F. 

On the weeks when we read a fiction story from our Treasures book, a workstation choice was to read a fiction story from Highlights and then fill out an accompanying organizer. 
 Click {here} to download!

On nonfiction weeks, they read a nonfiction article and filled out an accompanying organizer. 
 Click {here} to download!

I loved using these with my third graders because the station required very little prep from me, and the graphic organizers also served as quick formative assessments on main idea and story elements.  These also served as fast finisher activities or an activity to complete with parent helpers throughout the year as well. 

Whenever new magazines were mailed to me, one of my parent helpers would tear the articles/stories out for me and glue them on construction paper, so I was constantly adding new reading materials to the newspaper/magazine tub that didn't cost me a dime!  Win, win!

I stored these in a large chest of drawers outside my classroom that were dresser size last year, and I honestly didn't get to use them at all this year, but I'm excited to use them in fourth grade.  I plan on keeping them in a drawer like this and keep the recording sheets in a bin on top. 
Operation Moving Classrooms is almost complete, I just need to tidy up my current room, and move my extra school supplies and construction paper! Woohoo.  However, once the custodians clean my room, I'll be back in there organizing because as I put my stuff in the closets, I noticed that there were several duplicates of resource books, posters, etc...but at least I'll be able to stay at home on my break until then! I've been at school everyday since we got out.  Which was a week ago today! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the ugly

Today, there were many things in my day that were good. 
 Being able to start moving into my new classroom, that was very good.  

 Iced teas from Panera are always very, very good.  

I also decided on a new blog name for my fourth grade adventure! That is good! Woohoo! I'm talking to a blog designer now about a new custom look.  Bad news for you, it's a secret for now. ;)

However there were parts of the day that were a little bad...
This bad has really more to do with my neighbor....who basically ruined a bunch of his belongings. Currently, my hubs and I rent an apartment.  It's in a nice area, filled with young professionals like ourselves.  Over a week ago, we got a new neighbor in our building.  These are his things.  They've been parked outside on this rented trailer for a week.  Oh, it rained today, like poured down rain.  In one of those boxes is a mattress.  Now I don't like to judge others, but something tells me leaving your belongs outside, wrapped only in paper, is not a good idea for more than an hour.  Just saying...

Since it poured down rain, all this lumber just sat on our lot today and didn't start becoming a house today.  That was kinda bad.  

There were also some ugly parts of my day...
My current classroom is ug-ly.  It's a mess.  A horrible, disgusting mess.  I may or may not have kept the really messy and disgusting  pictures from you because I like having friends.  My teaching belongings are in desperate need of purging, and I have piles all around the room that I'm trying to work through.  It looks like the Tasmanian Devil went through my room and had no mercy.  It's not pretty.   I'd say about 60% of my belongings are in my new room.  If I were a betting woman, I'd bet good money that I'll spend the rest of the week at school sorting, purging, and moving things down stairs one A/V cart at a time.

Oh, and the custodians THREW away my boxes this morning.  The boxes I planned to pack my belongings in.   That was ugly, like super ug-ly. Thankfully, I was able to rescue them before they were taken to the dumpster, but until I found them, I was NOT a happy camper.  

What about you, friends? What was a good, bad, or ugly part of your day?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Reading Link Up and My Ron Clark Story

Every summer when I was growing up, until I was a teenager and got a job, I spent pretty much all of my time reading.  I was lucky to grow up in a house with an awesome pool and deck, and my favorite way to spend the day was floating in an inner tube and reading a book.  I still love reading, but I've found teaching can get in the way. :( I always have great plans to force myself to relax and unwind by reading during the school year, but it never happens.  This summer I plan on spending lots of time reading, and I'm excited to link up to Mrs. Standford's Summer Reading Linky Party as well as Jodi's Summer Reading Contest over at Clutter-Free Classroom

I am excited to possibly win Ron Clark's newest book from Jodi's contest! I met Ron Clark back when I was in college, he came to my university, and I worked as a student aide at the College of Education at the time.  You could say I was his "assistant" that day.  I picked up his Subway and always made sure he had a cold bottle of water.  In exchange, he gave me a free copy of The Essential Fifty Five and wrote the following inside: "Dear Lisa, Thank you for making the decision to teach.  I know you will be awesome.  All the best, Ron Clark."  So sometimes on those really rough days, I open up that book and remind myself that Ron Clark himself said "I'm going to be awesome." :)

Okay, now it's time to talk summer reading! While I love reading professional development books, I find myself wanting to read so many at one time, and then I get overwhelmed, and quit.  So most of my summer reading includes lots of fun reads. :) I love, love, love Emily Giffin and Elin Hilderbrand and they both have new books coming out this summer, I am just a tad excited about that. :)
On the professional side, I plan on brushing up on some of my professional favorites, and getting familiar with the manuals/curriculum for my new grade level. 

What are you reading this summer? Please leave me a comment with the book you are most excited to read this summer.  While I might not get to it this summer, I'm always adding to my list of "Must Read Books"!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Updated Telling Time to the Five Minute Pack {Mini Giveaway}

Since I'm out of school for the summer, and most of my family out of town for Memorial Day, I've found myself with extra time on my hands this weekend.  Which is so refreshing! I decided to put that time to good use by updating one of my earliest TpT files, my Telling Time to the Five Minute Activity Pack.  Although it has sold very well, I've been wanting to "pretty" it up and add some suggestions that were left in the feedback.  It looks a lot better now after its little makeover!

If you have already purchased this item, please log into TpT and download this new and improved version.  Included is a fun three in a row game that my students loved playing, two time to the five minute move abouts/scoots/read the rooms, and a match up game.  I've included detailed directions so now these activities are perfect for math centers/tubs. It's on sale through tonight at both of my stores.
Teachers Notebook
I'll be giving away TWO copies of this file! All you have to do is be the first two people to comment on this post. :) Please, please, please leave your email, otherwise I can not send the file to you!

I've also been able to start my summer reading, I've had lots of book titles pinned, just waiting for summer to be here...I just started Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan.  So far, I've really enjoyed it!
Maine (Vintage Contemporaries)

You can check it out on amazon here. :)
Well, I'm off to watch Food Network Star and cuddle up with up the pup! Have a great night! :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Can You Guess Who I Am {freebie}

Just  a few days ago, I was racking my brains trying to figure out just what my kiddos would do on the last day of school.  I read my kiddos Sideways Stories From Wayside School earlier in the year and planned to show the Nickelodeon cartoon movie while I was passing out Student Council awards at the big kids' awards ceremony, but that was about it.  

So I did what I did pre blogging/Pinterest,  I searched my End of the Year files, both paper and electronic, for what I've done with my classes in the pass.  Lucky for me that I did, because I found one of my favorite last day of school/end of the year activities!

 Click {here} to download!
I have my kiddos write down five facts about themselves, and then I shuffle the papers around, and I read the kiddos clues aloud, one student at time. Each student has a copy of my class list and the recording sheet and they write down who they think the clues describe.  Once all the clues have been read, then I start with the first page of clues and reread them, and then have the students share who they thought the clues described and reveal which student wrote the clues.  
My kiddos always LOVE this.  I have them put up privacy shields and everything when I read the clues and they are such attentive listeners, you could hear a pin drop during this activity! Plus it's always a hoot to see how my students describe themselves and their reactions when they the mystery student is revealed! 

Some years I offer a prize for the student who guesses the most friends correctly, and some years I don't.  Prize or not, my kiddos LOVE this activity, and I hope yours do too.

Don't forget my School's Out for the Summer Sale at my Teacher's Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook stores is going on through Saturday!
 Have a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School's Out for

 One of the traditions I really missed this year from my old school was our principal blaring "Schools Out for Summer" on the PA system once the buses left, so I got on You Tube tonight and found this little treat.

Yes, it's Alice Cooper and The Muppets.  It's a little scary and a little bit fantastic all at the same time.

To celebrate summer, even though I have a work day tomorrow and a classroom to pack before I can relax, I'm throwing a sale at my Teacher's Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook stores! 
Many thanks to Ginger for the adorable graphic!

I'm a little bit worn out physically and mentally, I'll be back to share my favorite last day of school activity! 

For those of you not on summer break, TWO more days! Then a long weekend! HOORAY!

Monday, May 21, 2012

S'More Day and Division Freebie

Two days left.  I can do this.  I can do this. I can do this.  Tomorrow is step up day, and my kiddos are headed to a third grade classroom for about fifteen minutes.  While I talk to first graders about second grade. I've been warning my kiddos about the importance of first impressions so they get their acts together and really wow the third grade teacher they visit, all while keeping their current teacher happy at the same time. Win, win. 

Today was s'more day.  We made s'mores, which surprisingly only a handful of my kids had ever had before,and wrote about what we would do if we had s'more time in second grade. Most of my friends wanted more recess, more field trips, and more fun and field days if they had s'more time in second grade. 

If you want to do a s'more day with your class, I have uploaded the craftivity templates and writing paper for grades 1-5 to my stores.

Teachers Notebook 

Edit: While I loved the big s'mores my kiddos made because they were adorable, I wasn't thrilled with how bulky they were.  S'mores are supposed to be tiny, right?  So I've revised the file to include big and little s'mores!
 I love, love, love the little s'mores!  They are more s'more size and the writing paper is now half of a piece of portrait sized copy paper.  They are so precious!

We still have some academics to squeeze in, we mastered the basics of multiplication, now it's time for division.  We watched a great Brainpop Jr. on equal groups and started working on these pizza themed mini book about division.  
 Today we went over the definitions for division and practiced writing division story problems. 
 Tomorrow we'll be working on solving word problems and hopefully doing a to be determined hands on activity to get them up and moving on our second to last day of school!
Pizza, Pizza Division is a freebie at my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook stores! Enjoy!

I'm off to drink some coffee, the end of the year chore list continues!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

End of the Year Student Gifts {Freebie}

Hi, friends! I'm taking a break from my end of the year "chores", RTI transition forms and report cards, to work on my kiddos' end of the year gifts.  Usually I give my kiddos books, but ordering from Scholastic just totally slipped my mind this year!

I decided to go with a bag of fun for my kiddos because so many of them just don't go outside and play! A lot of my kids live in rental properties with little place to play, so I complied a bag of goodies that they could play with outside with anywhere and that will hopefully give them at least an afternoon of fun, play time! 

 Inside I put a piece of sidewalk chalk, a watercolor paper, a glow stick (my friends went crazy for their glow stick Valentine's), a packet of Hawaiian Punch, a mini container of bubbles, and an animal squirt gun.  

 The watercolor activities come from Michaels, my kiddos have loved picking them out of the Treasure box this year.  They come 12 to a pack and are only $1.  I included a q-tip for them to use with their painting. 
 I also picked up this roll of goodness at Michaels today! It was on clearance for only $2.99 and I figured it might help with their gap times/with my fast flying finishers these last three days of school since copy paper is in short supply.  
 If you would like a copy of the label I used for my students, I have uploaded it to Google Docs.  Just click {here} or on the picture below to download.  

 I am linking this post up with Courtney's  End of the Year Gift linky party. Click on the link or the picture below to check out everyone's fabulous ideas!

Enjoy the rest of your Sundays, friends! :) If you download my gift tags, I'd love hear how you plan to use it! I'm always collecting ideas in my brain for next year! :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

End of the Year Memory Books

Summer is so close, that I can taste it.  However, a lot of end of the year chores stand in the way between me and some sweet summertime relaxation. I'm hoping to tackle a lot of it this weekend, so I can enjoy my last few days in second grade, and then begin packing up my classroom so I can move to my fourth grade classroom.  I woke up early today, for a weekend, with inspiration for my kiddos' end of the year memory books.  

I always love doing memory books, but the one I usually used required way too much paper.  our district closed a school last summer and moved the teachers to other schools, and cut our supply budget.  Both of those things together mean there is a lot less paper to go around these days.  I might even have to take in a ream from home to get through the week next week. EEKK! 

Anyways, I decided to go green this year and make little memory books, so I could get two pages for each book on a page.  I love using little books in my classroom for math and vocabulary, so I know my kiddos will love these. I teach at a Title One school, so a lot of my kiddos aren't able to purchase yearbooks, and I love being able to send home a little keepsake of memories with them.   Of course, they are the most excited about the autograph pages. :) Especially if I let them use markers. 

I used to teach third grade and my BTF (best teacher friend) is in the same paper predicament, so I slightly modified my second grade booklet to make a third grade one too! 

Original post edit: Since I now teach fourth grade, I have add a fourth grade version! 

If you're interested, all three of these memory books are available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  
During My Days in Second Grade

During my Days in Third Grade
Teachers Pay Teachers

During my Days in Fourth Grade
Teachers Pay Teachers 

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

"arrays" full of sunshine {mini giveaway}

My friends this year love being crafty and I love it too, especially this time of the year! :)  We are currently in the middle of our study of multiplication and we've been having so much fun.  I love, love, love teaching multiplication because of how visual it is.  I feel that beginning multiplication is a skill that most kids just "get" because they can see it. 

We just started focusing on arrays and last night the inspiration hit me for a fun little craftivity, "arrays" full of sunshine. :)  I gave each of my friends a multiplication equation and let them go to town.  I always run my templates on construction paper in our copier, easy breezy, nice and easy!

My sample!

 This little craftivity was perfect for this time of the year, since summer is so, so close.  I only have three days left and can hardly wait.  Of course my list of end of the year "chores" is about a mile long, but that's okay, summer is near! :) 

If you're interested, you can pick up the tracers/templates necessary to make your own "arrays" full of sunshine at my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher Notebook stores.
 I'll be giving a copy of this craftivity to the first person who correctly guesses the color of my class' fun and field day t dye shirts. :) Don't worry, no funky colors here.  :)  I used a regular ole bottle of liquid Rit.  

Happy Friday! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Just another manic Monday....

7 days left.

I CAN do this. 

With the aide of Panera iced coffee, which is new and fabulous by the way, and lots of dark chocolate squares by gosh by golly, I will survive the last seven days. 

Today was just not a good day.  I was on cloud nine on Friday because my sweet little kiddos came back to me, and I was so, so, so happy.  Well, today was a drastically different story. 

Today we started our multiplication unit, and I was pumped. Pumped.  Typically, second graders are so excited to begin multiplication, just like cursive, it makes them feel oh so grown up. Side note about cursive I still have lets say about 14 letters to introduce before the end of the year.  It's a good thing they like it and a good thing they are quiet doing it, because we have a lot to do! 

 We started with arrays, and I was thinking all day, "Oh, I got this.  I got an engaging activity that will get them up and moving, which is essentially during these crazy sauce final days of school, and it will be fantastic."

It went a little something like this. A version of scoot/move about with a multiplication fact at each table with tools to make the array, and all they had to do was create the array, and then record the equation and the product on their recording sheet. Brilliant right? I thought so too...

But it failed, horribly.  Okay, in all reality 2/3 of my friends did great and I should probably award them with big ole gold stars but then those 1/3 that couldn't handle it, just couldn't handle it.  In fact they broke Brutus'  leg during this activity. Yeah, my kids broke Brutus' leg.  I've had him since high school.  I'm so sad and so is Brutus.  He can no longer stand up, or sit up.  Anyone know where to order chairs custom made for college mascots? I need one....

Brutus in happier times modeling for our new document camera.

So halfway through the activity, we cleaned up, and stopped what we were doing and did an activity I found on Smart Exchange instead and then they did cursive in complete silence.  I was NOT a happy camper.

Tomorrow we're trying arrays again with this little activity from Amy Lemons.   Bless you, Amy.  Bless you.

My fingers are crossed that it goes much, much better because right after math tomorrow, I get to miss my planning period to supervise my student council kids serving punch and cake at our volunteer appreciation reception.  I'd really love to not show up all stressed out crazy sauce...

On a positive note, my students won the boxtops challenge.  Meaning we get an ice cream party on Wednesday (yay!) and I get a $25 gift card to a store of my choice to use in my classroom! I'm leaning towards Michaels but Target and Office Depot are pretty stiff competition.

What part of your day would you do over if you could? Leave me a comment telling me what it is below! Obviously mine was math, hands down.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Today I'm linking up with April, Teri, and Hadar's  Summer Bucket List linky party! 

Summer starts for me in eight days! We have an additional work day after our last day with kids, and I'm elated.  The past few months have been a struggle for my family and I can't wait to relax.  Oh course with building a house and prepping for a new grade level, I'm not sure exactly how much relaxing I'll do. :)

Considering I have some big changes happening in my life this summer, I have quite the bucket list!

For the Classroom 
I have quite the list of ideas in my head as to what I want to do in my classroom for this summer, it's a bit overwhelming actually.  Basically they all point back to this list.
1. Pack up my personal belongings in my classroom, move them downstairs, unpack them in my new room.
2. Create an organizational system in my new room that works.  This classroom below makes me so happy.  I moved into my room this year a full week before school started and I never quite discovered what worked for me.  
Pinned Image

3. Become familiar with my new grade level content and create materials for my first few weeks/months at school.  This is quite a lofty goal, but necessary.  I changed grade levels a week before school started and have felt so behind all year long.  I'd love to be able to see the big scope/sequence of it all before the school year starts! :) 
4. Transition fully to a polka dot theme.  My theme has been Stars and Stripes for five years, and I'm ready for a change! I've added a few polka dot things hear and there over the years, so I'd love to make the switch totally!
5. Figure out my the classroom management plan for my fourth graders.  I currently use the clip chart system, but I'm not sure how that will work with fourth graders.  Any 4th grade teachers want to share any great ideas for older kids?

1. Figure a more permanent blog name and have a more unique design planned for me.  I love my blog design, but I'd love to have one that others don't have as well too.  I'd also love to transition to a blog name that would stay with me even with grade level changes. :)
2. Figure out a plan to allow me to blog more consistently during the school year.   

1. Deep clean our apartment from top to bottom so we get our security deposit back when we move this summer.
2. Pack up and move our apartment into our brand new house. :) I love these labels from The Nest Effect.  
3. To stay calm and remind myself "Rome wasn't built in a day" and that my house will not be decorated and gorgeous overnight.  That takes time and money. One room at a time, one room at a time, even if we are hosting Christmas this year!  At least the outside will be gorgeous! :) But then again, I'm biased!

1. To start a consistent fitness routine again.  Three years ago, I ran a marathon.  To be honest, I haven't done anything spectacular or consistent with fitness since then.  I'd love to just get back to being able run 3 miles without worrying about it again because I love road races! :)
2. To cook more.  I love to cook/bake but was so stressed this school year with work and family stress, I haven't really cooked at home and my pants not fitting right are proof this can't keep on happening.  I'd love to develop a go to list of quick and easy healthy staples for my little family.
3. To stay faithful to our family's budget.  It's so easy in the summer to spend money, whether it be for school things, home things, clothes, etc.  My husband and I have some pretty big savings goals that we'd like to hit, and we can do it, if we can stay dedicated! :)

What's on your summer bucket list?  I'd love if you told me something from your bucket list in the comments below! :) It's been quiet, chirp chirp city in my comment box lately. ;) I love, love, love hearing from all of you! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lily and Miss Liberty

The countdown is on my friends, we have only 13 school days left! 12 1/2 for me, because we have a meeting with our builder tomorrow about our house. :) We found this on our lot yesterday, and we have our fingers crossed that they are able to start digging on Tuesday! :)

For the last few weeks of school, we are doing a novel study on Lily and Miss Liberty.  I just love this book, which is about a little girl named Lily who sold crowns to help raise money for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty stands on.  I love, love, love American history/symbols so I can't wait to do this unit with my kiddos! I just finished up my Lily and Miss Liberty Unit and it's posted at Teacher's Notebook, but TpT currently is not accepting new materials from teacher author's until later tonight.  Here's just a little sneak peek.  Lily and Miss Liberty would be a perfect accompaniment to your study of American symbols or the end of the year, close to Memorial Day! 

Included are vocabulary cards to display for each chapter!

 Also included is a vocabulary booklet for each vocabulary word.  I love these half books! I run them 1-2 through my copier at school and set the staple setting for a staple at the top and bottom of the page, and then cut the booklets in half.  It's perfect for this time of the year when copies are in short supply!

 A comprehension log with questions for each chapter is also included.

Don't forget the awesome Teacher Appreciation Sales going on! I am so very thankful for all of you, for your support, for your creativity, and your friendship! :) I hope ya'll get spoiled this week, you deserve it!

All the items in my store will be 20% off, and then you get extra 8% off by using the promo code TAD12.  Click on the image above, or {here} to head to my Teacher's Pay Teachers store. 

Just click on the image above to enter! :)  I know I could easily select a $100 worth of products on my wishlist. You can visit my Teacher's Notebook store {here}.

Off to finish lesson plans for this week! Good night friends!
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