Monday, August 20, 2012

A New School Year and Monday Made It!

Hello all of my bloggy friends out there (yes, that's not a real word...but I like it!)  I am so excited today.  Today is the first day out kiddos come back to school.  I am so looking forward to learning about my students today.  I am going to be borrowing a few things from my friends in the blog world, but I also have a few tricks up my sleeve.  I can't wait to come back and share with all of you later.  But today I wanted to share my Monday Made Its!  It has been a while since I linked up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics.  Her Monday Made Its have been so helpful this summer.  And imagine my surprise when she used the Math It Up Game as one of her Made Its!  I was so happy and floored.  I rushed to tell my boyfriend (with me being a new blogger, this was great), of course he didn't really understand as he is not a blogger.  But he made me feel great anyway.  And I have to thank him for all of his help preparing for the school year.  He has cut, paste, moved things, put up things so much ans I couldn't have done most of it without him.  Love you babe.  Okay enough rambling..on to the Made Its.

My 1st Made It:
This is my snack pouch.  Our school has a snack time provided in all grade levels.  Last year, I had a problem with students sneaking snack during instruction.  Talk about an issue.  So I stated to make them put their snacks a basket with their name.  The problem with that is the time it took to get their names on it.  So this was the new alternative and I love it.

 This is just a shoe pouch that hangs on a door, I numbered each pouch and students will place their snacks in their pouches.

My 2nd Monday Made It:
This is my writing utensils in my Writing Center.  I love this so much.  I purchased the tin buckets from Target Dollar Spot and they were worth every penny.  I just placed a label on the bucket.  I saw on one of these fantastic blogs that they placed duct tape around their writing utensils and loved it so I did it as well.  I know that items are going to come up missing, but hopefully this will cut that down a bit.

My 3rd Monday Made It:
This is probably my favorite made it this year.  I had a cork board that I use last year.  The sad thing is that it didn't match this year's theme (No, you are no the only ones that are anal about color schemes.  So I set out to redecorate it for my room.

I actually used left over sheet that I used to cover my bulletin boards to cover the cork board.  Then I added ribbon and buttons.  I used binder clips and ribbon to hang my board.  And that's it.

I am loving my room and promise to post pictures soon.  Hope you all enjoy your day and good luck to those just starting the school, the ones that are already there, and those that are still enjoying your summer vava.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Super Improvers Wall....and Whole Brain Teaching!

Hello everyone out there in the blog world.  I am extremely tired today.  I have been slaving working in my classroom the past two days trying to get everything together before the pre-school workshops begin. (You all know the ones where you sit and listen to people speak about the upcoming year, learn this and that, and almost fall asleep in the process... Just Kidding, I only nodded off once. LOL!).  Needless to say, the job is still not done (is the job ever done?)  But I am proud of the progress.  I wanted to share with you guys something from my classroom in three ways:
  1. Background
  2. Pictures
  3. Freebie
You CANNOT beat that!  So let's get down to business. 

I have been researching some great ways to improve classroom management, motivation, and personal success in my students.  Whether we want to admit it or not, many students just do what it takes to get by and move on.  I wanted more for my students this year and set out to research some ideas.  Imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon Stephanie over at 3rd Grade Thoughts Whole Brain Teaching section.  I was immediately blown away and wanted to know more.  So I then set out to research Whole Brain Teaching (Isn't the internet wonderful?)  I found loads of information on Whole Brain Teaching and fell in love.  I knew that this was happening in my classroom.  First I had to learn how to implement it in my classroom and with the free resources on the official Whole Brain Teaching website....everything you need is there....FREE!  I learned all of the ideas and started creating some ways to do the things.... (Picture this... Alabama 2012, a teacher sitting in her bed mimicking "Class, Yes" and "Mirror".  Don't worry, if you are new to WBT, you will know what they are soon enough).  There are so many ideas and techniques behind Whole Brain Teaching:
  • Class, Yes
  • Teach, Okay
  • Scoreboard
  • Five Rules
  • Mirror
and the one I will be talking about today....SUPER IMPROVERS WALL!

What is the Super Improvers Wall?
 The "Super Improvers Wall" is a  method used to increase student motivation.  It is self motivating and self differentiating! The "Super Improvers Wall"  is based off of students beating their own personal goals, whether they are academic, social, or behavioral. 

How do you use the  Super Improvers Wall?

This is very simple.  There are ten different levels that are used for the wall.  The levels can be whatever you want.  Many teachers have used levels that match their classroom theme or just general levels.   I chose to use levels that can be used throughout many different classrooms.  Students work towards receiving stars.  For every ten starts earned, students move up a level.  

Students can earn stars for many things.  They can earn them for academic, behavior, or both.  A student can earn a star for increasing in a certain subject or coming in the classroom appropriately after struggling with it.  Since we are a 7 Habits school, I loved the idea of allowing students to earn stars as I see them exhibiting 7 Habits behavior as well.  Some teachers use the wall for an entire year (and that was the goal behind the SIW idea), however, I think I will be doing mine every semester and having a Super Improvers Celebration for those who reached the highest level.  I am hoping this will motivate those who didn't really see the purpose behind improving oneself to work harder at reaching that highest level.

What does the Super Improvers Wall look like?

Each classroom varies in how it looks, and that is completely up to you.  I opted for a clip chart and recorder sheet.   Students will record their stars (improvements) and clip up a level when they reach ten stars (using clothespins) Check out the full view of my Super Improvers Wall in my classroom below (:


The levels I have chosen was adapted from Tara over at Little Minds at Work.  I changed the levels a bit to match my age group and a general classroom theme.  My levels are:
  1. Beginner
  2. Learner
  3. Challenger
  4. Captain
  5. Wiz Kid
  6. Specialist
  7. Perfectionist
  8. Pro
  9. Super Star 
  10. Genius
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I got the awesome graphics for this from Phil Martin.  He offers his graphics free.  They are awesome!

To keep track of the stars for each level, I created the Student Recording Sheet.  See below:

To reach the different levels each student must get ten stars. Students will just fill in the color for each level. (You can use the colorful star stickers and match up the color with the level they are on of just colorful dry erase markers.)

Now for the fun stuff.  I am sharing these with you!  Just click on the picture below to print and enjoy.

I love Super Improvers Wall and look forward to the motivational effect it will have on my students.  I will keep you posted.  Are you a Super Imrovers Wall user?  If you are, how do you use SIW in your classroom.  I love ideas.  If not, you should check it out and see if it will work for you.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

First Day Jitters Blog Hop!....and an Awesome Giveaway!

Hello all!  I am so excited about the school year... Yea, I know that means summer is over, but I have learned so much this summer and have grown, so I am excited to to get into my classroom and rock this year.  Are you?

Anyway, I am linking up with Ashley over at Fierce in Fourth for First Day Jitters Blog Hop!  I know that I am just learning how to be a teacher ( a great one), and even though this is my second year, I am jittery again.

1.  I am teaching with a new co teacher.  I loved my last co teacher and she made me feel so awesome.  We worked well together and we learned from each other.  Well, my co teacher moved to another grade.  I am not so worried about the person, but just us being teacher together.  I am all for collaboration, but I don't want to feel that I have to do what you do in your classroom.  And that is my jittery fear number 1.

2.  Implementing 7 Habits.  My school system is implementing 7 Habits as a system wide.  I am excited about implementing the habits as I think they are great for students to learn and grow with, but I am a little nervous about ensuring that I am using them throughout the year and making sure my students know that I am expecting them to as well.

3.  Teaching with the new ideas, curriculum, and all the things in between.  Let's face it, teaching is jittery in itself.  And at times, there are so many ideas that we can't get to, add in new curriculum and the itty bitty things that become large, it's a wonder how we can do it all.  I am a litter jittery about the stress of the first few weeks and the ittly bitty things that follow.

What are you worried about? Don't forget to head over to Fierce in Fourth to check out her blog.

Also guys, check out Katie over at Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans.  She is having a great 500 followers giveaway.  I am hoping to win, but love to share more.  Go over and check her out.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Hard Day and Monday Made It...

Hello all!  I am so excited to be linking back up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It!  It has been some weeks since I linked up, but happy to be back!  There was so much to post on this Monday Made It.  Let's just say that I have not only been making, cutting and laminating like crazy this past week, but I have been finishing up my eLearning courses. (Is it wrong to be elated about almost being finished with these course?  Great information, time consuming) And I am still not finished.  I am drained, but know that my hard work is going to be so worth it!  Okay, so I am going to post two Made Its.  I remember seeing a Made it Post by Tara and she had functional and Cutesy.  So I will share my functional first.

My school has adopted the Envision Common Core for our math series this year.  I am so excited about using this textbook... I am not sure how the other Envisions were, but I love this one.  It has so much and I love it so much (I think I already said that).  So I am really working towards making my boards interactive.  We can thank Daily 5 and CRAFT (check out Ladybug Teacher Files for her rendition of CAFE)!  So I set out to make some interactive boards for my students.  I wanted some catchy vocab terms and thought that I could make that on my own....and I did, so here is a view of a few of my Vocab words that coincide with envision.

I will putting this up on TPT store soon.  I am not finished with them yet and the entire pack includes the common core standards, domains, clusters, and vocabulary for fourth grade math.

My next Monday Made It is my Cutesy one.  Okay, so I purchased these fantastic blue bins from Lakeshore.  I loved my bins and I use them to house my different teacher editions that I am currently using.  (Come on teachers, you know that our teacher editions are plentiful...which is another reason I love Envision, folder like teacher editions.)  I love my bins and couldn't part with them just because they didn't match my color scheme this year....  Take a look:

Sort & Store Book Organizer
I didn't take a picture of my bins before hand, but found the ones I purchased on Lakeshore websites.

So I set out to transform the blab blue bins to fantastic black and white them bins.  The materials I used: a glue gun, patterned duck tape (black and white zebra stripe), and black paper.  Yes, that is all!  Here are my steps:

  1. I lined the edges of the bins with the pattern duck tape (front, back, and sides)
  2. I measured and cut the paper to fit the bins
  3. hot glued the paper to the bins (inside and out)
  4. And Viola...DONE!

And the finished product:

2012-07-20_12-15-45_654.jpg               2012-07-20_12-15-07_704.jpg

                            2012-07-20_12-15-34_807.jpg                  2012-07-20_12-15-13_630.jpg

Sorry the pictures are a little dark....Hope you can see the creations.

The task was fairly simple and I love how they turned out...and they look great. I didn't line the bottom of the storage bins because I didn't see the purpose and the materials in the bins will cover them up.

After all the training, I am excited to share some of the things I created for 7 Habits for free.  I will discuss and share on a later post.  Probably after I finish up this eLearning.  LOL! Be sure to stop by 4th Grade Frolics to check out the other wonderful Monday Made Its!   Happy Creating!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop...and Where Has the Time Gone?!!!

Hello fellow bloggers and followers.  It has been a while since my last blog.  Let's just say that I have been swamped  busy with school work.  Needless to say I am tired beyond my own thoughts.  While I was away from my blog world, I have been to 7 Habits Training, AMSTI (Alabama Mathematice, Science, and Technology Initiative) training, eLearning courses, blog stalking for ideas, looking up all the information I can on Whole Brain Teaching, and in my classroom trying to get some things up and ready for the school year.  I am so tired I cannot even think!  But I am enjoying the progress my classroom is making and I can't wait to reveal my classroom to you guys.  It is going to be wonderful and I am too excited.

I decided to link up with Janis Leach over at Grade Three is the Place Me for her Newbie Blog Linky Party.  I think this is a great way to link up and meet fellow newbies out there like me.  So here it is.

    1.  what state you are in

    2.  your current teaching position
    3.  your teaching experience

    4.  when you started blogging
         LAST MONTH

    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

I will be linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics tomorrow for Monday Made It.  And I have made a lot so I am super excited to share.  Be sure to check it out.  And come back for the reveal of my classroom!

Okay... I also wanted to share a fantastic giveaway for you awesome bloggers out there.  Amanda Madden over at Teaching Maddeness is having a great giveaway for her 500 blog followers (Oh, I can't wait to get there to share more ideas with more people).  Anyway, she is giving away some awesome things and you should really check it out.  I am hoping to win, but though it would be great to share with others.  LOL!  Good luck!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

And the Nominees Are....

Wow!  I am so excited to have gotten my first of two awards. When I decided to start this blog, I just wanted to share and express my thoughts, ideas, and whatever else came to mind with others.  Being nominated for awards are just added bonuses for my decision to start a blog.   I have been awarded for The Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog Award.  Well, that just make me happy!  I was awarded by Emily over at I Love My Classroom and I am so THANKFUL!  Be sure to check out her blog...

So here are the rules:

The Versatile Blogger rules....
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

One Lovely Blog Award rules....
1. Follow the person that gave you the award.
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award.
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

7 random facts about me....
1. I love being a mom.
2. I love Ruffles chips and Ranch dip....So NOT GOOD FOR ME, but taste so GOOD!
3. I love the color red...even though it doesn't look that great on me.
4. I teach at a Title I school and am a product of a Title I school (grew up in Title I schools)
5. I love sports (football, basketball, baseball, softball, track and field...the list goes on and on and I love them all.)
6. I started drinking coffee when I started teaching...and I only drink it with cream and cappuccino mix.  If there is none, I am not drinking!
7. I love seeing the my students cross that finish line on a concept they have running towards.
So the lucky bloggers that I am nominating are the following:
(Please click on the links to check them out!)

Ladybug's teacher files
She is one of the reasons I decided to start a blog.  LOVE HER SITE!
Fancy Free in Fourth
She is a fellow fourth grade teacher....
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
Great Ideas.
Great Blog!

Mrs. Freshwater’s Class
Love this blog!

Many resources for all teachers
2nd Grade Pig Pen
Really cute ideas and crafts
Alternative Name
Great Resources and Ideas!
Great Blog.

Fantastic Blog
Awesome Blog to Check out!
Many ideas that can be used for all grade levels

Queen with Class
Love the ideas and thoughts on this blog!

EduKate & Inspire
Great site for teachers
Love the site and title

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Made It: Cereal Box Containers.

I am so excited to be linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!  I have stalked her Made Its and new I had to share soon.  I love the great ideas.  This is my first Made It (new blogger), but super ready to share.  I have always heard people say cereal boxes are great for this and that, well I just never thought to try it out for myself until yesterday.  I wanted some containers to match my classroom color scheme this year, but didn't want to break the bank to buy some (let's just say I can be a frugal teacher)  So I set out to use somethings at home.  When I started saving my cereal boxes, I would find them near the trash can... my boyfriend has  a touch of OCD and hates clutter and mess!  LOL!  So I had to hide them in the bottom cabinet in the pantry.   Well anyway, I used the following materials to create my cereal box containers.

Scrapbook Paper, cereal box, scissors, and rubber cement... That's all!

First I cut the boxes to my desired sizes.  I played around with the sizes and shapes.  After cutting the scrapbook paper to match the boxes, I glued it on using rubber cement.  LOVE THIS STUFF!  The last steps were pretty easy, just smooth and glue.  I love my boxes and hope you guys enjoy them too.  I am not sure what I will use them for, but the are great for my room decor this year and to keep things organized.

Check out the feet in the back.  My little man was there to help the entire time.! ;-)

 Just a note, if you wish to store papers in your cereal containers, be sure to use the family size boxes.  The normal cereal box is too small to hold regular sheets of paper.   As I said, I am a new blogger, so please check out my blog and follow me.  I have a two freebies below to kick off my new blog.  Hope you enjoy.  The cereal box can be used with so many different things in your classroom, but I love mine.  What are your ideas with cereal box containers?