Friday, June 29, 2012

What Luck!?!

I'm feeling very lucky and very blessed tonight!  Can you believe that I was given an award and I won 2 giveaways??  I can't either!!

First off, thanks so, so much to Amber from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher (great gal, great blog...check her out) and Kayla from Primary Junction (stop by to see all of her great ideas)!  I won $25 worth of items from Amber's TPT store, and I'm excited to pick out what I want!  I won a one year subscription for my class to Samson's Classroom from Kayla's giveaway!

And, if you can believe it, there are even more giveaways going on now!  Click on the pictures to check them out!
Luna Interactive Projection Camera

HearAll Assessment Recorder        3 Units, 2 gift cards 

9 Products           Up to 21 products

Now go and enter, enter, enter so maybe you can win too!  Good luck if you do enter (or if you already have)!

Now, thank you so very much to Sara from Miss ElementaryAimee from Pencils, Books, & Dirty Looks, and Colleen from Totally Terrific in Texas for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award!

There are 7 rules you're supposed to follow when you get this award:

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.

So I guess I'm on step 4...I'll try not to bore you!  I'm not very exciting!

7 Facts You Probably Don't Know About Me!

1 - I'm an only child, and believe it or not, I can not remember ever wanting a brother or sister when I was little...

2 - I am named after my grandmothers whom I love dearly!

3 - I'm much more of an introvert than an extrovert!  I'm good with working alone! {But I love blogging!  Does that make me more outgoing??}

4 - I honestly wish I wasn't so shy and quiet and was more outgoing (like my husband)!

5 - I love to cook and especially to bake!

6 - School was always extremely important to me!  I was the valedictorian of my graduating classes in high school and college with 4.0 gpa's and 2 of my 3 Praxis scores were in the top 10 - 15% of all scores!  {I should've had a little more fun, I think!}

7 - My husband and I have been married for 6 years (on July 8th) and together for 9!  I hope to be a mommy soon!  I'd love to have my own little one by the end of next year!

I don't share numbers 6 & 7 (the last part) often, so it's a little scary...that's number 3 coming out in me I guess...

So because I am exhausted and it's waaaay past my bedtime (yes, sad I know...) I'll be back soon to nominate 15 other bloggers for the award!  Hopefully I'll get that done in the morning, but we're having a heat wave with no rain in sight, so tomorrow will be spent on the boat and in the water!  It might be Sunday before I'm back! =)

Thanks again, Aimee, Colleen & Sara for the award!

P.S. Remember and how you all so graciously helped me get my project funded??  There are two great teachers out there who need your help now!  Could you please head over and vote for them!  I know they'll appreciate it as much as I did!

**Shawn left a link on my & donors choose post, and he needs your help getting his project funded!  Click on the link to get there!

**Jessica, who many of you probably know from her blog needs help getting her project funded too!  Click on the link to get there!

I'd love it, and I know they would too, if you could help these two teachers give their students a little more technology in their classes!  Head on over and vote!  And remember, you can vote every day!  Check out my post if you missed it and won't to know more about or donors choose!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daily 5 - Chapter 3

This week, I read chapter 3 of The Daily 5 which is all about routines!  If you're just starting to follow along with the book study, you can see all of my other Daily 5 related posts here.  Last week, I promised you all a freebie...if you missed it, I posted two freebies on Friday.  Go check them out here!

So, on to...

Jana, at Thinking Out Loud, is hosting this week's book study!  She posted a graphic last week that I used to take some notes as I read.  (The shoe lesson and book boxes should really be in the second column...ignore that please!)

Let's Get Together

Chapter 3 talked about the importance of having a gathering place.  My first year of teaching, I was hired (for kindergarten) about 2 hours before the parents' open house!  Yeah about 2!  So the teacher who had taught kindergarten let me use her rug and a few other things (she took a Math Recovery job in the school).  I loved having a rug, but when I was moved to third grade of course I had to leave it behind.  My room now is smaller than that kindergarten room too, so space (or a lack there of) is an issue as well.  So I don't have a gathering place in my room.  
But I may have found a solution: earlier this month I found carpet squares!  We can store them easily and quickly when not in use, move them around the room from the dry erase board to the projector and screen, and even use them in all sorts of places for read to someone and other partner and group activities!  And they're even numbered (they can be used with a calendar rug) so each child can be assigned a square!  So hopefully my Donors Choose project will get funded and I'll have a great gathering place next year!

Readers have to Read

I love the I-PICK strategy for finding good fit books, but I need more!!  Where do you all get books for your classroom library?  I just got a lot of 50 books for a pretty good price on ebay, but I probably won't be buying many more...I have had success with donors choose in getting chapter books for my classroom!  My first project got us three series of chapter books and I just had another project funded for another series of chapter books (and the same books on CD)!  Have any of you all asked parents for old books or just mentioned that you would gladly take any books they no longer want or need?

A Little R & R

Routines (and rituals) are an integral part of the classroom no matter what programs you're using, whether it's Daily 5 or anything else.  A classroom full of little ones without routines is not a place where I want to try to teach!  There were a lot of things in this section of the chapter that I liked and some things I already do too but can improve.  After all, we can always improve!  Chapter 3 suggests starting every new part of the daily 5 by making an anchor chart.  I make anchor charts with my kiddos, but it's not something I do all the time.  I can definitely make more!  I just wish they would look a little more like these!

And if you're looking for a way to manage all of those anchor charts check out this pin.  It comes from Teaching My Friends!  Click on the picture to go straight to the post about her binder!

At my school we talk a lot about respect.  I loved the Debbie Miller quote from the book that basically said 'I expected them to show respect and be kind, but I didn't teach them how'.  We can't just expect kids to know what it means!  That quote reminded me of this anchor chart...I knew that we had to make this one as soon as school starts this fall!

While my loud voice isn't all that loud, a quote from the sisters that I liked was when they said "introducing one loud voice in the classroom is the quickest way to have the noise level in our classroom go spiraling out of control."  I love their idea of using a signal noise of some sort to bring students back to the gathering place rather than having to call out to them.

I could go on and on, but I'm going to end with that!  You can see a couple of other ideas that I thought were important in the graphic at the beginning of the post!  I do have one more question for you guys...does your school use accelerated reader (ar)?  If so, how does it work with the I-PICK strategy?  Do you let your kids have ar books in their book boxes to read during daily 5?

Don't forget to visit our host for chapter 3, Jana, and link up your chapter 3 post!

Thinking Out Loud

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brighten Your Day

Doesn't a cheerful, colorful classroom make your day a little brighter?  I know it does mine!  I'm doing a little classroom makeover this year since we're switching themes and switching rooms.  Our school wide theme is peace, love, & {our mascot}.  I don't want everything in my room to be tie-dyed though! I'm tying in the bright colors I love with our theme, and hopefully I'll be able to use it with our future themes too!  I'm linking up with Tara's "Monday Made It" at 4th Grade Frolics and Michele's "Make it, Bake it, Sew it, Grow it" at Miss Nelson's Got The Camera and

This pin on pinterest was something that I immediately knew I wanted to make for my classroom.  It was so easy to do and didn't take up too much time!

You just need a few supplies to get started...paper dixie cups (I used the 5 oz. size), scrapbook paper (I used solid colors - bright of course), pencils, scissors, a box cutter or knife, and some type of adhesive (I had some glue dots and used them).

The first few steps are listed on the picture below.  This part takes the most time.

Here are my covered cups (and my Roxie in the background)!

Now you're ready to hang the "shades" over the lights!  Find the center of the bottom of each cup, and cut a small x in it.  Then just gently push the light through the x in the bottom of the cup!

And voila, you're done!  I love how it turned out!

Hopefully, I'll have another project ready to show you on Friday for the Pintervention linky party from Third Grade Is A Hoot!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday *Almost* Made It

I'm waiting for amazon and my local post office...I never have to wait for my amazon packages, but my last two items have come in slowly.  So I unfortunately couldn't finish my Monday Made It project just yet...and I'm a little sad cause I can't wait to see it!  I will tell you that I'm making something from my classroom ideas board {click on the link to check it out and follow me:)} and I'm waiting on these to get here...
They should be here tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to finish up, take some pictures, and share my Monday Made It fashionably late!

In the meantime, I found a couple of great giveaways you can enter (or improve my chances, ya know...just kidding)!

Amber from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher is having a great giveaway to celebrate her birthday!  You can enter to win items from her shop (one person will win $10 worth and one will win $25) until tomorrow at midnight.  I was lucky enough to win a lot of items from one of her past giveaways, and I've bought a few more things, so I can tell you she has great stuff in her shops!

Tonya at Tonya's Treats for Teachers is having a really great giveaway too!  She is celebrating 200 followers!  You can enter to win a target gift card, starbucks gift card, and TPT gift certificate.  And she's giving all three away to 2, yes 2 winners! 

So hopefully I'll be back tomorrow to share my newest classroom DIY project with you!  I might even try the one I've been putting off (like the plague) that I hinted too at the end of this post...but maybe not!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Big Winner

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who entered my 100 follower giveaway!!  There were over 451 entries!  After recovering for a while from 6 hours on the lake yesterday and my niece's birthday party at the lake today, I'm finally getting around to announcing the big winner!  {Sorry if you've been waiting!}

Congratulations to Sara!  You won all 10 items from Aimee, Heidi, Michelle, Amber, Lisa, and me for pinning my giveaway!  Look for an email from me soon!  I hope you enjoy everything you have won and find a great way to use it all in your classroom!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And...Sara blogs too!  Check her out over at Miss V.'s Busy Bees


If you weren't the lucky winner, make sure you go to Friday's post to grab a heart mapping freebie you can use for back to school or writing journals and another freebie you can use for building stamina at home!  Check out all of the great blogs and stores of the others who donated items (and my store too) for more freebies!  And a little tip to you...if you'd like to purchase the scoot games and multiplication unit I gave away or any of my items, they're usually priced a bit cheaper in my Teacher's Notebook store!

And I'll leave you with a couple pictures of one of my favorite places from my heart map!  Here are a couple of pictures of our local lake!

What is one of your favorite places to be during summer?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Have You Seen This??

Maybe I am just behind....

If you check out TBA's Favorite Events, you'll find "Giveaway Galore".  You can link up your giveaway for others to see or just browse for giveaways to enter!  All of the giveaways are deleted after they end, so everything there is current too!

I stopped by to link up my 100 follower giveaway {have you entered yet?}, and found a couple that I hadn't seen before so be sure to check it out for yourself!

Speaking of giveaways, have you entered Stephanie's?  She's celebrating 100 followers too!  She has lots of great resources for 1st and 2nd grade, but some that we could use in 3rd too, especially in the beginning of the year!

Katie at Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans is celebrating 250 followers with a giveaway!  You can enter to win 14 TPT products and a signed copy of "Have You Filled A Bucket Today?" until midnight on Tuesday!

Rachel at The Tattooed Teacher  is having a huge 500 follower giveaway!  I would love to win so I could get this that she is giving away from her shop!

Michelle at No Monkey Business is celebrating 300 followers by giving a lucky follower a $30 amazon gift card and 3 units of their choice from her shop!  Her units are great, so I have my fingers crossed that I win!  Good luck to all you guys too though! :)

Christi from Ms. Fultz's Corner is giving away a digital copy of Laura Candler's book "Graphic Organizers for Reading.

Mrs. Saoud from Primary Graffiti is giving away a $25 gift certificate to purchase books from The Clever School Teacher.  Click on their button below to check them out!

And don't forget to enter my 100 follower giveaway!!  It ends at midnight tonight!  Just click on the picture below to go enter!

Enjoy your weekend!  I'm off to the lake in a couple of hours!  What are your plans?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Building Our Community and Our Stamina: Freebies for Your Class

If your reading stamina is good and you made it through my long, long post yesterday, you'll remember that I promised you some freebies!  We'll here they are!

In chapter 2 of the Daily 5, the sisters talked about trust and building a classroom community.  I have a freebie that can help you with both of those things!  Obviously to make your classroom a trusting environment with a strong sense of community, you have to know your students!  But I think they need to know you too!  This freebie is a heart mapping "worksheet".  Heart Mapping is not my original creation.  It is an idea developed by author, Georgia Heard.  She writes about it in her book Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School.  It's a great way to learn what's important to your students and can be a great addition to a writing journal (for those times they just don't know what to write about)!  It can also be a great way for your students to learn what's important to you.  I would suggest completing your own heart map on chart paper while your students create theirs and then giving everyone time to share after you share yours!  Click on the picture to download your freebie (with an example of how it's used).

The sisters also talked about stamina.  After reading about building stamina, you wonder why you haven't always done things this way!  We do in many ways, but I have never referred to it as such.  Starting small and building up from there is basically all there is to increasing your stamina with anything.  I'll definitely be helping my kids build their reading and writing stamina in my class next year, but why couldn't they build their reading stamina at home too?  Many teachers already assign nightly reading for homework, and that homework can be perfectly combined with building stamina.  Your second freebie is a worksheet that can be sent home for weekly homework.  It's a modified reading log that requires students to record the time they started and finished reading and how long they read each night (with help from an adult in earlier grades).  They can see their stamina improving at home, and parents are involved too!

I'm linking my freebies up with TBA and their "Freebie Friday"!  Go Check it out for more great freebies!
Freebie Fridays

And I'll leave you with a picture of my heart map!

 What are the important things in your life?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Daily 5 - Chapter 2

I'm so glad that I chose to join in this summer's book studies and read The Daily 5!  So far it has been great, and I've loved that I can see other's ideas on what we're reading too!  Today I'm talking a bit about chapter 2, From "Management" to "Principled Habits": Foundations of The Daily Five.  I'm linking up today with Nicole at Teaching With Style who is hosting the chapter 2 book study.

I felt like this chapter was so important and definitely something that I needed to read.  I want to foster independent learners who are engaged in meaningful work this year.  I'm so tired of busy work...I don't like forcing the kids to do it, and I don't like grading it! {Let's just be honest :)}  I think it all starts with these 6 core foundations (from chapter 2) that are essential to the Daily 5: trusting students, providing choice, nurturing community, creating a sense of urgency, building stamina, and staying out of students' way once routines are established.
We always try to make sure that our students trust us and feel safe in our classrooms.  But do we always trust them?  Sometimes it's hard to let go and give up a little bit of control.  So what else can I trust my kiddos to do?

We practice walking quietly in the hallway so we don't disturb other classes and working quietly so we're prepared for test days and presentations by our friends and guests to the school.  The kids all know what I expect, and I can trust them to walk quietly and work quietly when necessary.  Every day we record what we have done in our planners.  But...I write everything on the board every day and the kids copy it.  However, there were many days that the students started without me.  The days that I had to miss, I told my students that I would check their planners when I returned and it was up to them to fill in their work for the day.  They did.  So is that something I could trust them to do after modeling at the beginning of the year so I'm not using up class time?  I also checked planners every day before leaving reading.  Near the end of the year, I assigned a helper whose planner I checked to check the rest of the class.  Is this something I could trust them to do?  Maybe this could be a class job...Trusting the students to do these things could give us back 5 minutes or so of class time...not a huge amount of time, but about the time of a mini-lesson!  
I love to give students some choice in what they're doing!  Don't you like to have a choice in what you do?  I do!  However, reading is probably one of the subjects I teach that provides the fewest opportunities for choice right now.  With the Daily 5 that will change!  As I'm sure everyone has heard, there are 5 choices for students during the daily 5 literacy block: read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing, and word work.  The students can choose the order in which they will complete their daily 5.  I teach from a  basal and I'm used to doing things a certain way, so I can tell you right now, this is going to be difficult for me!  However, I love the choices the students are given, and I'm confident that I can use them to teach the same content.  I especially like that reading to yourself is a choice because I don't feel like my students have enough time to just read.  So while my students are learning to trust me next year, I'll have to learn to trust them to make their own choices within the daily 5!  Wish me luck! :)
Building a classroom community starts on day one!  From the very beginning of the year, your students are learning about you, and you're learning about them.  There are so many "ice breakers" you can use during those first few days to get to know each other, but I think there's more to it than that.  I want my students to know that it's not my room, it's our room.  With a  sense of ownership comes a sense of pride and responsibility.  By doing something as simple as writing our rules or a class pledge together we're taking a step in the right direction.  I also want my students to know that it's okay to not do everything perfectly and that we all make mistakes.  It's important for them to feel safe to try, safe to read out loud, safe to share their writing, and safe to make those mistakes without fearing ridicule from their classmates!  Building a strong and kind classroom community is where it all begins.
Creating a sense of urgency in students isn't about making them feel rushed or worried about finishing their tasks.  It's about making them feel responsible for completing their work and motivated to keep going and do a good job!  Giving students a choice in what they're doing gives them some motivation, but giving them a clear purpose for their choice adds to it.  The kids (like us) want to know why they're doing what they're doing.  Reasons behind what we do tell us why we should do it and  that makes it worth it!  In efforts to try to get assignments started (and finished) I don't always make it clear why it's an important assignment and what it's teaching us.  With a conscious effort to tell students why we're doing each lesson next year, I hope I'll see their attention to the lesson and motivation increase!
Creating independent readers doesn't happen overnight.  Those who finished assignments early in my class are always encouraged to choose a book and read quietly.  However, one thing I frequently noticed was that kids are up and choosing a book every 5 minutes...They often didn't sit and read the whole book.  They can read, but they didn't have the stamina to read for an extended period of time, so they were up choosing new books before finishing the first.  I didn't realize it then, but I didn't give them the foundation they needed.  Next year, we will start building our stamina from the very beginning in reading, writing, and working independently!
  Last year this was impossible.  I kid you not!  I didn't have the independent workers that could function without me for an extended period of time.  They were fine for 5 minutes, but then they needed to see that they were doing it right.  Next year after modeling behaviors, setting clear expectations, building stamina, and practicing what we're supposed to do, I hope that I can trust my kids enough to get out of their way and let them learn!

So, what else could I trust my kids to do for themselves that would help the daily 5 run smoothly in my classrom?

When you're students are making their daily choices, do you have any guidelines for them to follow other than the guiding questions mentioned in the book?  

The biggest concern that I still have is in sort of combining the Daily 5 with my basal.  We use Scott Foresman Reading Street in my district.  Do any of you have a reading series and use the daily 5 too?  Do you have any suggestions for me?  Can it be done?  {I'm not being very independent, huh?}

If you're still here, I admire your stamina!!  
That was loooonnng!

Make sure you come back tomorrow for some freebies and don't forget to enter my giveaway!!