Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two Stars and a Wish! BLOG HOP




 I excited to participate in the "Two Stars and a Wish" Bog Hop!  The mission of the hop is for each participant to present two "star" ideas to help you get ready to go back to school.  The "wish" is an area that we want to work on or improve.  

I teach math and absolutely dislike Math Logs that busy parents sign, whether their children have practiced their math facts or not.  Then, I discovered Xtra Math.  I LOVE this program.  If you are looking for a way to add accountability to your students' math fact practice, you have to check it out.  To read more about how I use it in my classroom, click HERE.  The best part is it's free!


Do you need curtains for your classroom, but don't know how to sew?  Check this out!  I made these curtains in about 5 minutes.  I kid you not!  


Here is how I did it. 

You will need:   


  • Bath towels in a cute pattern that will match your classroom.  (I got mine at Target for $5.99 each.)  Towels are washable and the edges are already finished so no additional sewing is necessary.


  • Liquid Stitch (available at any craft store like Michael's, Jo-Ann Fabrics, etc.)


  • Tension rods to fit the space where you plan to hang the curtains.  


Instructions:

Predetermine how large the rod pocket will be by folding long edge of the towel over the rod.  I made my rod pocket about 2 inches.  Squeeze a line of Liquid Stitch along the outside edge of the towel, then fold and press together to make the pocket.  

After allowing it to dry according to the Liquid Stitch instructions, you are ready to hang them up! I have had mine for 3 years and they wash beautifully! 



This is my second year teaching a self-contained classroom and they language arts routine was very new to me last year.   This summer, I have been searching for ways to help me be a better teacher without spending an enormous amount of time creating.  

One of the areas I needed help with was Mentor Sentences.  Lucky for me, I found an awesome source for Mentor Sentences at Ideas by Jivey's TPT Store.  Not only has she created Mentor Sentences units for every week of the school year, she has also paired each lesson with a supporting grammar lesson for an Interactive Language Arts Notebook.  Heaven!!!  

Below is a free example of Jivey's "If You Find a Rock" Unit.  I hope it helps make your life easier, too!




For more Star ideas from more than 40 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. 

Thank you for visiting!















Saturday, June 28, 2014

Common Core vs. Non-Common Core TPT Products







Common Core in the United States



Hi everyone!  I am a TPT customer (and seller) from a non-Common Core state.  Since most of the country teaches according to Common Core Standards, it is getting harder to find products on TPT that are geared toward Non-Common Core States.  Naturally, TPT Sellers want to market their products to the biggest segment of the market.  In fact, I have bought lots of things and adapted them myself.  But most of the time, this takes as much effort as creating something myself.  What I'm hoping for is to encourage sellers to create a version of their products where standards are editable (when they are used within the product).  Is this realistic?  If you create Common Core products, is this something you would be willing to do?  I just feel like I am missing out on so many AWESOME products!  Thank you for your feedback.

NOTE:  In Nov. 2013, Texas passed legislation (HB462) which prohibits school districts from using CCSS to meet the requirements to provide instruction in the Texas standards (TEKS).  You can find the link to read more about it HERE.


Treasure Map for Teachers - #3


My inspiration for this edition of Treasure Map for Teachers is this  little goodie I got in the mail.


It's the Oriental Trading "Teacher's Back-to-School Guide"!  I've seen sections of Oriental Trading devoted to school supplies, but never a whole catalog!  Let me share some of my favorites with you!  The item numbers are included below the pictures
YS-13654114

This is an "All About Me" poster shaped like an owl!  So cute!  This is a great project for the first week.  I like to decorate the hallway with them in time for parent orientation.  They are so affordable at $8.25 for 30 posters. 

YS-13654187
 These little clothespins are perfect for finding the owners of papers without a name.  My kids know that if they don't find a home by the end of the day, they will be recycled!  I couldn't make them at $5.00 for 24 clothespins!

YS-9/1331
These labels are a must have!  They come in all different types of themes....Superheroes, Bees, Space, Stars, Animals Prints, etc.  I use them for name tags and anything else that needs a label.  The best part is the price....$4.99 for a roll of 100 labels.  

YS-13650865

 This is a scratch-off reward that you can create for your students!  Just write in the reward of your choice, then cover it with a sticker that can be scratched off!  Genius!  Who knew there was such a thing as scratch off stickers?  I can't wait to try these!  They are $5.25 for 30 rewards.  

A few other bargains to mention...
  • Hundreds of pencil designs available - $4.25 for 2 dozen
  • Dry erase sleeves - $12.99 for a dozen
  • Alphabet tiles (like Scrabble or Bananagrams) - $10.00 for 80
  • Highlight reading strips - $4.00 for 24
Now is the time to shop as quantities are limited as we get closer to the fall!  

Please leave feedback if you are enjoying this series!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Toxic Behavior

Summer is a time of reflection for me.  How about you?  I was reflecting today about a term I recently read about called "Toxic Behavior".  Hmmm.  I decided to revisit the definition of "toxic". 


www.toxicavengermerchdise.com

TOXIC - def.  1. containing or being poisonous2. extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful, 3. relating to or being an asset that has lost value.  Synonyms: poison, injurious, malignant, unhealthy, hurtful. 


Lord knows, I don't want anything to do with anything that is toxic. Is there anyone who would like to be described as having toxic behaviors?   I think not.  Do people with toxic behaviors exist?  I believe so.   Now, being honest to with myself......have I ever exhibited a toxic behavior?  Yes.  I mean, yes.  We all have at one time or another.  None of us is immune.  But most people are evolved, balanced, aware, and it happens only rarely in their lives.*

Toxic behaviors are damaging.  They are attached to a harsh word like "toxic" for a reason.  They can cause havoc and chaos within a group of people who work together.  We all make mistakes.  But, a person with consistent and perpetual toxic behaviors can make you want to retreat to your classroom or even find another job.  Toxic behaviors damage relationships, professional success, and the well-being of the individual behaving this way, and to everyone around him or her.*

* Quoted from "6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away: How to Recognize Them In Yourself and Change Them" by Kathy Caprino, Int'l Women's Coach, Speaker, & Writer
But, let's shine the light on the darker side of the coin.  Perhaps YOU are the cause of a toxic behavior.  If so, know that you are doing more damage to yourself than anyone else.  This is not an easy thing to reflect upon.  The reality of admitting you are "the cause" of toxic behavior can be a bitter pill to swallow.  But the sooner you reflect upon it, the sooner you can neutralize it.  Keep this in mind:  toxic behavior is negative emotional energy in motion.  Whether you are the giver or receiver, it drains energy and adds stress to you and all who are affected.  

So what is the solution?  I wish I came up with this myself, but it was listed in the comments to the original article about this topic.
"Environmental pollution does harm biological life.  Negative, reactive, and defensive behavior does not happen in a vacuum.  The solution to achieving the right ecology is the generosity of understanding, support, and love." - Dennis Brinkley


Ecology....I love it!  Plant kindness. Nurture it while it grows. Water it.  Shed light on it.  Fertilize it.  But keep in mind....pestilence will kill it.  

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Treasure Map for Teachers - #2



Welcome back!  I have some awesome treasure to share with you today!

What's Under Your Cape?

I always love visiting the blog, Corner on Character.  It is written by a wonderful elementary counselor, Barbara Gruener.  I share her belief that character is a very important element to a successful classroom.  Not a day goes by that there isn't an opportunity to talk about character with my students.  

Barbara has written a fantastic book called What's Under Your Cape? (Buy it HERE.)  I bought it a few weeks ago and have highlighted and dog-eared most of the pages!  



The book uses each letter of the words SUPER HEROES to highlight an important character trait.  Barbara gives many strategies for helping children focus on building these positive values.  One of my favorites is about dealing with bullies by teaching students a song to the tune of "The Chicken Dance"(page 53 in the book)  Who doesn't love"The Chicken Dance"?  I can imagine my kids asking to do this over and over!

As a special treat, I have FREE bookmarks in my TPT store that go along with this book.  Click the picture below to get your copy!






See you next time!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Treasure Map for Teachers #1





Let the summer blogging begin!  

I am excited about kicking off a summer series called "Treasure Map for Teachers" that will showcase amazing treasures that every teacher should know about.  My goal is to find items that any teacher could use and be excited about.  I often come across some "jewels" that I just "have to share"!  This series will be your "treasure map" to finding them, too!  Here we go!

Free Fonts Friday!


I love fonts!  Even better, I love FREE fonts!   Every Friday this summer, you will be able to pick up a free font at The Teaching Tribune.  How awesome is that?


Think Marks 


I have two sons, one in college and one in high school.   They both have been required to annotate their assigned reading since 7th grade.  It can be a difficult skill to learn at that age.  However, successful readers in high school and college are active (not passive) readers, interacting with every assigned text.  Below is an example of excellent annotation at the high school level:


Imagine creating the routine of active reading in the foundational grades?  There is an immense benefit to building this process as soon as children start to comprehend what they are reading.  By writing a simple symbol, students are utilizing building blocks to metacognition….very powerful.  

Thank you to Just a Primary Girl for creating this awesome resource and providing it for FREE at her TPT Store.  

Sheppard Software


This is one of my favorite websites for kids.  If you have not explored it, you are missing a valuable and FREE resource to utilize in your classroom.  It literally has hundreds of educational games on many subjects starting from pre-K on up to college and adult learning.

One of my favorites is the food chain activities.  It is a great interactive lesson to practice what we've learned about producers, consumers, and decomposers.  


Sheppard Software's math activities are excellent and fun.  I love using this website as part of the centers in my classroom.  I've even used it to help me learn how to play Mahjong!


I hope you found some "treasures" today!  If you did, please leave a comment!  I'd love to know if I've helped you find some jewels!



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Check it Out!

My dear friend, Megan at I Teach. What's Your Super Power?, is celebrating her blog's birthday with a series of giveaways!  I am contributing a product to her Day #4 giveaway, which is actually 4 different giveaways.  Check it out here.


I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

You could win one my very popular Secret Agent Math Activities! My students LOVE these activities.  Click on the picture below to learn more about the one in the giveaway.  Enter today!

  
Have a great week!

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