Saturday, September 12, 2015

Back-to-School Freebie Frenzy

Welcome to everyone hopping through for the freebie frenzy! I'm sure that you've gathered some great goodies so far.

My freebie is something that I used last year for Constitution Day. I don't know about you, but Constitution Day sneaks up on me every year, and then I frantically look for something that I can use in isolation while I'm right in the middle of my Native American social studies unit.

Last year I decided to address Constitution Day in reading instead of social studies. I wrote some close reading passages about the Constitution with second read, third read, and writing response activities. I also included a basic how-to on close reading if you've never tried it with your class before. They would integrate nicely into your reading workshop format. Click on the picture or click {here} to get your copy.
I hope that it will come in handy for your last-minute Constitution Day planning!!
Before you keep hopping, make sure that you've entered our giveaway!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Following Directions

One of the challenges of the first week of school is trying to find a good balance of the required teaching of rules/expectations and easing students into some academic work.

During the back-to-school TpT sale, I bought Rachel Lynette's {Following Directions} task cards. I thought that it looked like a lot of fun, yet the students would have to use some math and literacy skills to complete it.

I originally scheduled one class period for this. I wanted my students to work together at their tables to complete it since I have a wide variety of reading levels as well as a few ELL students. I gave each table one sheet of four directions, and they were to take turns reading them to each other. When they finished the sheet, then I would give them another one. That was the plan, anyway.

Oh. My. Gosh. This product was a lot more (appropriately) challenging for my students than I thought. The directions are complex and usually involve more than one step. There was some serious teamwork and problem-solving going on in the groups. Lots of concentration. Lots of rereading. But the students were not discouraged. Needless to say, I needed to have this activity bleed over into next week, which is a good thing since I have to be out of the classroom for a training on Tuesday morning.
We'll see how much they get done while I'm gone, but I anticipate this will take a few more half-hour chunks of time for them to complete. I may also use this as a reading workshop rotation or morning work over the course of the month since it is something that requires a little more brain power.

Can't wait to see the finished products!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Classroom Pictures

I'm sure you haven't been missing my blog posts. I'm guessing that you have been as insanely busy as I have been. So I'm just taking a quick second to share some pictures from my room. I don't remember if I shared any pictures of my room from last year, but I had 4 different types of desks and 6 different types of chairs. Just the fact that everything now matches makes my Type A brain much happier!
 View from the door.
 My corner of the world. Sign on the front of my desk was a gift from {The Teacher Crafter}.
 I love the look of my library this year. I attached wall files to hold my thinner books. Above the windows are awesome posters from {The Brown Bag Teacher} and {Digital: Divide and Conquer}.

Back table with a whiteboard waiting for me to figure out reading and math workshop rotations. Also features a non-negotiable poster set from {Joanne Miller}.
I post my {check-in} and {check-out} posters by my door.
 My looonnnggg and fabulous counter! Oh, the storage!!
 And since I had extra shelf space, I made a little display with some prints from IKEA and my DIY poms. The black case hold my Walkkits for {The Walking Classroom}.

So there you go! The bulletin boards will fill up over the course of the year, but this is the starting point for the year. Hope your year is off to a great start!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

DIY Tissue Poms {Bright Idea}

I first made these as tops for my truffula trees way back when, but they became part of my classroom decor very quickly.
You can make them with solid colors or a variety of colors.
 For this example, I think that I was using 11 sheets because I had a few that stuck together. It does make it a little more difficult, but some of you might like the fuller look. I've also used as few as 5 sheets. (Also, it was not until this tutorial that I discovered that I've been spelling "accordion" wrong most of my adult life...) I am folding the length of the tissue, so my finished accordion will be about one inch wide and as long as the width of the full tissue, if that makes sense.

 You are really going to need good scissors for this. It gets to the point where I just start the cut and then rip out the chunks. I make the notches so that when I tie the middle, it stays put.

You can see the solid-color ones I've made and hung on the wall in this picture. Super fun!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on {Facebook}, {Pinterest}, or view {previous Bright Ideas} for more great ideas.
For more bright ideas from many more bloggers, please browse through the ideas below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to School in a Flash {Student Engagement}

This last week of the Back to School linkies is about student engagement.
As I've mentioned before, I use {brag tags} for all sorts of things in order to keep students motivated.
My kids are really love flashlight Friday. {Joanne} blogged about it forever ago, but I just started trying it this past year. These are the flashlights I got.
They were only $10 when I bought them, but they appear to be more now. I went through about half of them during the course of the year. I think some of them may have ended up at students' homes ;)

Link up your own ideas for student engagement!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back to School in a Flash {Decor and More}

Well, I'm moving to a new school and new classroom this year, so I can't show you anything until it's done and I'm allowed in. So I will share decor from previous years to show my style.
My puffs are the tops of the truffula trees I made a few years ago. They have held up well! I also loved my work board since I had three different sets of kids and had to keep track of everyone.
I used clothespins to hang {goal banners} in front of the window for the beginning of the year.
 My {brag tag} display area.
 Loved these prints and frames from IKEA.
My own art - my students love to see my artistic side!

Link up your own decor ideas!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Back to School in a Flash {Curriculum Must-Haves}

This week we are looking at must-haves for your curriculum.
I've been in the process of revamping my {close reading products} to include a paired passage with each topic. If you own any of them, they will be updated before that month begins. If you don't have any, I have a few freebies that you can try!
Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B has an awesome math product called {Math Moves}. I three-hole punch each weekly sheet and have students put the it in their math binders. We do four problems a day as a warm-up Monday through Thursday. On Friday, I give them the ten-ish question quiz that covers what we did that week, and I allow them to use the page that we did earlier in the week as a resource.

Here is what I absolutely adore about this product. Number one - it spirals through all of the CCSS standards. Number two - it's enough for the WHOLE YEAR. Number three - It's ONE PAGE PER WEEK!!! Some of the problems require more room to work, but I just have the students use the back. Number four - It is a serious bargain at $10. AND, she is the sweetest person in real life.
This year I have to teach science for the first time ever. I'm hoping that the {Science Penguin's NGSS INB activities} will help, so I have those on my wish list!

Enter below for a chance to win some great products from iTeach5th bloggers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link up your own must-haves!