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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