28 September 2013

Itchin' to Read this New Book

I just got the most adorable new book...

Bugs in My Hair! is about a topic most teachers (and moms and dads) dread...LICE!  When I was a child, I did my time with them...and as soon as my mom got my case cleared up, then my sister got them!   After reading this, my mom add to my own personal lice story...As your mother, I want to clarify the history on the liceapolooza. When you got lice (ICK), you got them from a girl in the class who was a repeat offender. In fact, when you got them 7 other students in the class were found to have them when checked. So... moral of the story is... if a kid in the class has them, and doesn't do what is needed to be done, they will continue to spread over and over throughout the room. (AGAIN ICK)  I have been paranoid about sharing brushes and hats since!  Just hearing the word "lice" makes me itchy...I'm itching as I type!
My students loved Bugs in My Hair!, and it was a fun read!  Mixed in with David Shannon's colorful artwork is the story of a boy, his mother, and a battle with the dreaded lice.  What my class loved most was how he sprinkled facts in story...sometimes as part of the text and sometimes in fact box-like inserts. 
You can definitely tell Mr. Shannon has gone to battle with a "Lice-A-Palooza" himself.  At all grade levels Bugs in My Hair! is a wonderful mentor text for writing what you know and how you can write about something ordinary but make it a really great story as well.  And if you teach your students about circular stories...this is a perfect example!
This book definitely needs to be a part of every classroom library...but wait you can add it yours!  David Shannon has given me a copy of this book along with two of his other great books to add to your classroom library...

Both of these books are popular student reads!  A Bad Case of Stripes is a perfect book to use to teach all the elements of fiction...especially theme, character, and plot.  No, David! is a perfect back to school read to introduce classroom rules.  Get them both now by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

08 September 2013

A Short Classroom Tour 2013


I was going through some pictures this morning, and I realized that I didn't show you pictures of my classroom this year.  I didn't make a whole lot of changes but there are a couple of things that I added that are helping to pull my classroom together more and more.  These are pictures I took on the morning of Open House...so yes, it does not look lived in yet!

The first thing you will notice is a TON of desks!  I have up to 33 students in my classroom during some parts of the day.  I like to have a gathering place on the floor though, so there are certain parts of the room that get kind of tight.  I have been squeezed more than once by two students pushing back their chairs at the same time.  We are learning the importance of pushing in our chairs and using good manners!
Here are a couple of other views of my classroom from different corners.
I actually have a very good sized classroom.  I am lucky enough to have an outside door with a window (not every classroom in my school has one!).  I also have a sink and a little cabinet storage.
If you were a student, the first place you would go each morning is to the book bag hooks... 
You would unpack your book bag and hang it up and be remind of the rules at the same time.  These rules are new this year.  I cut out the classroom rules on my Silhouette Cameo, so they would be big enough to see from anywhere in the room.  I made the school rules poster then uploaded and printed it at VistaPrint.com.
Next you would make your way to the dry-erase board where I use the projector to display the lunch choices each day.  You would make your choice using the MimioBoard.

Let's zoom in a little because I want to show you another newbie...

We are implementing Interactive Note-taking this year, so I created some charts with the procedures and examples.
Now some days you may need to come check in with me, so off to the small group table you go...

In this picture, the small group table is set up with sign up sheets and verification forms for Open House.
Or you may need to choose a new book to read...

Don't you love my new genre charts?  I got them from Ginger Snaps, and they are adorable!  Once again I uploaded these to VistaPrint, so I wouldn't spend a fortune in printer ink. 

Not wanting a chapter book?  How about nonfiction?  They are conveniently located under the science and social studies boards...
The shelf top is set up with more materials for Open House...we have a whole lot of paperwork for parents to fill out!
If you have had a good week, you will be happy to see what comes out of this crate... 
 Here are where the conduct folders are stored and waiting until Friday. (although when I took the picture...my adorable new black and white polka-dot conduct folders were in the workroom awaiting their turn for lamination)  Below, the drawers of the freshly painted file cabinet are waiting to be filled with student portfolios and other data that will begin to be collected with the arrival of students.
By the way, did you notice my signs for Open House?

If you like these signs, please feel free to I do now have them available in my TeachersPayTeachers and Teachers Notebook shops!  You do not have to use them just for an Open House because they are editable, so they can become center signs, table signs, or whatever kind of sign you need. 
Click on the button below for the shop you prefer!
Thanks for coming to visit my classroom!  One of my favorite parts of the year is putting together a place that is warm and welcoming.  You and your students spend so much time in this place that it has to be somewhere you love to come into!  What part of your classroom makes it one of your favorite places to be? 

03 September 2013

These Pencils have the "Write" Stuff!

Why are good pencils so difficult to find these days?  Many times they are too cheap to sharpen or break soon afterward.  If they do sharpen, the eraser is crummy.  Then there are times when I think my students are trying to increase their fiber intake by eating pencils because the pencils will disappear as soon as you put them out.  And don't even get me started on 4th graders and click-y (what I call mechanical) pencils.

When SmileMakers contacted me about trying their pencils, I was slightly skeptical because I have become such a pencil snob.  They let me choose a set I wanted, but that was such a hard decision because SmileMakers has a great selection of all kinds of pencils...reward, motivation, and just everyday pencils.  I choose these...
Yes, I did find some polka-dotted pencils!
I tried sharpening them in my pencil sharpen...
and...wow!...they do get really sharp!  And a stable kind of sharp that will not break with normal use.  (Now I haven't tried them yet with my habitual pencil breaker...but I do have high hopes!)  And because the design is painted on instead of shrink wrapped like you get with some of the cheap pencils...just sharpening one pencil did mess up my expensive pencil sharpener!  Yippee!
Now for the erasure test...would the eraser actually erase?
Not too bad!  I think the eraser will stand up to students that are hardest on erasers.
Two thumbs up, SmileMakers, for creating some good pencils...well worth the price!  I will definitely be buying some more of these pencils for rewards and prizes for my students.

To check out SmileMakers, click on the logo picture below...
You will find more than just pencils.  They have all kinds of prizes, stickers, and educational resources as well as dental and medical treats too!  You have to check out their band-aid selection...I am so tempted to splurge on some of these!

02 September 2013

Currently...I'm Back!

Oh my goodness!!!  Back to School has really kicked my behind this year!  I do have excuses why...and I will share a couple a little later! :P

But first, I am glad to get back on a Currently...from the fabu Farley at

(love the chalkboard theme this month Farley!)
drum roll please...
Since we start school in August (on August 7th this year!), Labor Day is always a milestone of surviving Back to School.  And even though I have the day off, what time did my eyes pop open this morning...5:00 a.m.!  I despise my internal alarm clock...it always works on the mornings I can sleep in and never on the ones that I forget to set that actual alarm.
So, since I was up anyway...and I found a Law and Order Criminal: Intent marathon...I decided it was time to get the ball rolling on my to-do list which at the top is finishing up my beginning of the year data. (due on Friday...I have been late turning in everything else this year...I want this in on time!)  With 30 students...and 33 for some subjects, everything takes so much longer to do!  It took the whole month to do IRIs (with the help of another teacher) and last night I finished up staging writing pieces, so now just math problem solving to stage.  Then comes the super fun task of trying to finish my goals.
But is my brain on all that data and goal stuff...no way!! (As you can tell since I'm writing this rather than actually doing my work!) I am really desiring to get my hands on some paper and letting my creativity ooze.  I am having to resort to sneaking in some digital creating...like treats for the Senior class football players and cheerleaders that my hairdresser is giving away at a dinner she is throwing.  Want a little peaky-poo...oh all right!
Don't worry this is not all of the treat...I will post pics when I'm all finished!
But my big goals for the upcoming month (after the data is done) are really kind of simple...
1.  So far I have lost 22.6 pounds since June 20th...I can't wait to get that number to 25...and want that number to really be at 30 by the end of the month.  (By the way...why do tasks such as staging writing make you crave chocolate????)  Weight loss has always been super extremely difficult for me...but I've enlisted my doctor this time, and she has given me some really helpful suggestions that are making it a bit easier this time!
2.  Keeping my desktop clean...a messy desk is a sign of a genius mind right???  I am the worst role model of keeping your desk clean...I am a natural paper stacker, and this year the papers keep coming and coming to the point where they seem to be getting cozy and creating baby papers!  I clean up and two minutes later...more!  I have always had an organized chaos, but this year I can't find a single thing!  I have gone into a major panics as I have had to dig through the mess trying to find the copies I need during a lesson.  So not good...and I am so glad that this hasn't happened during my two observations by assistant principal!
3.  Finally, I loved doing the Random Acts of Kindness with my class last year.  I am planning on getting them started with my class this year...and since I have a pretty sweet group this year, I know that they will enjoy it!  You can see how I introduced this last year to my students right here.  I will pretty much do this the same way except there is no Georgia day of kindness this year...but that won't stop us! :)
Oh it is good to be back!  And I guess I had a lot to say...I hope you have had (or will have) an excellent start to the new school year!  Enjoy your time with your new babies!


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