Monday, July 20, 2015

First Monday Made-It of the Summer

I just got done teaching Summer School this past Friday, and I am now in FULL SWING back to school mode; getting things ready for my classroom and planning out new and exciting things to try this year (and, of course, SCHOOL SUPPLY SHOPPING!).

Even though I've been working on some things throughout the summer, I've finally had time to sit down and actually put them together.  I'm excited to share my first Monday Made-It of the summer with you all.  I hope you like what I've put together!


Oh, and I have to apologize ahead of time for the AWFUL pictures you are about to witness.  In no way do I claim to be a photographer or even have a remote sense of skill with my digital camera; so sorry.    



First up, I painted my annual batch of pencil-themed clothes pins.  I like to use these as my student name clips (I'll write my students' names on them once my class list is finalized).  I have a cute tin Crayola bucket that I got at Target's Dollar Spot last year that I keep them all in.  I like using clothes pins because when I call on a student I can clip their pin to the side of the tin until I've called on everyone.  Sometimes I like to use an app on my iPad to call on students, too, like Stick Pick, but sometimes the clothes pins are just easier.

This year I made double the pins because I'm also going to use them for my student job board.  I've never done student jobs before, but I've been working on a whole set-up and system for them that I really hope will work.  My pencil clips will be perfect to clip onto the job tags and move around each quarter as needed.


Next up are the Teacher Information Magnets I make every year for my students' parents.  I give them out at "Meet the Teacher Night" by taping them inside of our 4th Grade information folders.  I include my name, school phone number with extension, class website, and my school email.  


Here's a close-up shot of the magnet.  And let's just break for a second to appreciate the cuteness of this lil' guy (unfortunately he's not one of my "made-its;" he's my sister's).    


This school year I'm making a HUGE change in my classroom.  I've been wanting to create more flexible learning spaces for my students, and I've decided to DITCH THE DESKS.  My AWESOME principal was totally on board with it, and she even purchased me a brand new set of tables for my room.  EEK!  It will definitely be a learning experience for all of us as the school year starts, especially when it comes to managing textbooks and supplies.  

Because of the small-group table arrangement, I'm expecting to have a TON of stimulating conversations occurring between my students.  However, I know sometimes it is hard for kids to get their ideas together and actually begin a conversation.  I saw these awesome conversation starters on Miss Jacobs' Little Learners.  


So, I decided to adapt them and use some of the language specific to what I like to use in my classroom.  You can download a copy of my conversation bubbles here, or grab Miss Jacob's here



Last, but not least.  At the beginning of the summer, I attended a Smekens Literacy Retreat with some co-workers and my AWESOME principal.  The conference was amazing, and we learned a lot of useful tips and tricks to utilize in the classroom.  One of the resources we received in the expansive folder of materials was a list of Webb's Depth of Knowledge Question Stems.  My school is big on questioning and higher-order thinking, and as soon as I saw this list I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.


I created a Webb's Depth of Knowledge Question Stem "flip book."  It lists all of the questions stems that were included in the handout, color-coded by DOK Level.  Each card also lists the DOK Level just for clarification.  The question stems are open-ended and can be used across subject areas and with a vast variety of activities.  I'm really excited about this, and I truly hope I use it enough that it either becomes a habit in my daily classroom routine, or I begin to memorize the question stems to the point where I don't even need the cards anymore.    





You can download a copy of the "flip book" here.  Each DOK Level is four pages, 16 pages for the whole document.  I used my amazing EK tools Scissor Pro Circle Cutter set at 4" to cut out each of the circles.  


Well, that's all I've got for now.  Hopefully, I'll have more to share before the summer is over.  School is starting earlier for me this year, so the clock is ticking...  

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

It Starts...

My district is starting school earlier than usual this year (yippee), but I still have more than a month before I have to go back.  Still, though, I've already begun to scratch that back-to-school supply shopping itch.  My first stop: the TARGET DOLLAR SPOT!

Target has done a phenomenal job marketing to teachers this summer in their Dollar Spot.  Educators in all grades can find something for their classrooms in this magical place, from pencils and erasers to bulletin board boarders and decor to stickers to chapter books.  There are colorful pointers, jumbo dice, storage bins, puzzles, flashcards, calendar sets, bookmarks, and so much more!  Also, hidden among the kids' summer stuff are great finds such as Scentos bubbles, a Crayola line for young ones, and Minion school supplies.  The Dr. Suess line makes a return, too.  Hurry, though, because a lot of the teacher materials are selling out fast, and you wouldn't want to miss out on these great deals!  

  My Target Dollar Spot Finds from Oak Lawn, IL

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Liam Post


This is my nephew, Liam.  I posted this video here because it was the only way I could show it to my students.  I know it seems out of place, but enjoy the cuteness anyway.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Classroom Reveal 2014-2015

The first week of school is finally over!  It's definitely been a busy one.  I'm spending my 3-day weekend at my parents' house visiting my two-week old nephew, Liam, and I finally have a little bit of down time to update the blog.  So, first things first, time to reveal my new classroom:



I went with a black and neon accent color theme this year.  I really like it, and my fourth graders do, too.  I also ditched my teacher's desk (mainly because I just didn't have any room for it with my 28 students).  So far it's working out great.  I added crates and caddies at the ends of my table groups to store our Science and S.S. books, kleenex, hand sanitizer, highlighters, post-it notes, and other odds-n-ends.  That's working out great, too, because the desks are already SuPeR crowded.

There's still some work to be done, especially in the library and on my bulletin boards.  We'll get there, slowly but surely.  I hope you like what I've got so far, though.


Classroom Reveal Linky Party!!!  Click the picture join the par-tay!  

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made-It: Second Edition

Here's to a second successful edition of Monday Made-It with Fourth Grade Frolics!



Before I share what I've made for this week, though, I wanted to share my back-to-school supply haul.  I laid it all out last night to get organized and it looked so beautiful.


School supplies give me the warm fuzzies inside.

Ok, without further adieu...

My "No Name" Hanger


I took some of the left over pencil clips from last week's Monday Made-It and hot-glued them to a ruler to make my "no name" hanger.  I just hot-glued a piece of ribbon onto the back of the ruler so that I could hang it up in my classroom.  I made a simple sign out of colored card stock that I plan on laminating and posting above it.  Very simple, very quick.  Literally cost $.39 (price of ruler).  


Missing Homework Binder


At my school, students get "infractions" for missing assignments, but I want them to feel more of a sense of accountability when they are missing assignments.  I'm hoping this homework binder will help.  Students will have to fill out a page (inspired by the one found here) each time they are missing an assignment.  This will also help me keep better track of repeat offenders, and have data to discuss with parents, as needed.  You can grab a copy of my binder cover and student sheet HERE.  


Desk Numbers/Home Base and Word Wall Letters


I'm going to be trying out a new seating design this year (hopefully).  Right now it's still just an idea in my head.  I'm moving into a new classroom, and I'm not completely certain of the size/layout availability.  I'll be able to get into my room at the end of this week, so hopefully I'll be able to know for sure if it will work by then.  AnYhOo, what I'm wanting to do is have my desks in groups of 5-6, each group being assigned a color.  Each desk in a group would then be assigned a number.  I would use those numbers for various management things, and the table colors, too.  More information on my table groupings will hopefully be coming in a later post.  As for the home circles, my class is a 1:1 iPad class, and we will have our iPads on our desks all day.  That being said, we will not necessarily be using our iPads all day.  The home base circles are where our iPads will rest when not in use.  Those circles will be positioned in the top left corner of the desks, opposite the numbers.  Finally, my bright and lovely word wall letters.  Simple circles on colored card stock.

I finally got to use my new EK Success Pro Circle Cutter and it was Ah-MaZiNg!  It was a little strange to get used to at first, and I did do some practice cuts on scrap paper to be sure I didn't mess anything up, but boy did it same some major time.  I have to admit, my pages did slip maybe two or three times, but I just fixed them up with my scissors and no harm done.  love LoVe LOVE!    


4th Grade Survival Kits


I'm currently in the process of making my "4th Grade Survival Kits" (inspired by Molly Malloy's Survival Kit for Life) that I'm going to give to my students on the first day of school.  I made all of the tags today (grab yours here), but I'm still missing a couple of "ingredients" before I can complete the baggies.  I still have to get pennies from the bank, hugs (bc Target didn't have any ?!?!), and I have colored rubber bands at school because I couldn't bring myself to buy the boring beige ones.  


Well, that's it for this week.  I hope you've enjoyed!  


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