Saturday, August 24, 2013

The First 2 Weeks...

Wow! The first 2 weeks of students is done, and I'm exhausted! I think I have a pretty good class this year. They are VERY different from last year. Last year, seemed easy as far as my students were concerned. I showed them what to do, and they did it. They were fairly independent, so I could focus on learning 2nd Grade curriculum. This year, my class doesn't seem to have the same independence. So, I've been modeling, modeling, modeling. They are trying very hard to do what is expected, but I can feel the difference between this class and last year's class.

I feel good about taking my time with rituals and routines this year. I keep reminding myself it will be worth it later. Then, I hear about all of the things other teachers on my team are already doing. That's when I start to wonder if I'm going TOO slowly...

Then, today I check my e-mail, and find this in my box . It was a wonderful reminder that I am doing the right thing. I have subscribed to this e-mail list for months now, and have both of the books on my Kindle Fire. After reading today's e-mail, I thought I'd share it with all of you so you could benefit from it too.

What has inspired you so far this year (whether you've started school or not)? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School, a Freebie, and a TPT Sale

Our students returned on Tuesday. I have 4 students I have had previously (3 from Kindergarten, and one I retained last year whose mother wanted me to have again). This is a very different group from last year. Last year's class didn't need as much direction, and were calmer overall. That's exactly what I needed because I was starting in a new grade level, and wasn't exactly sure how I would do things. 

This year I'm trying to be more organized, and I know how I want to do routines based on things that worked/didn't work last year. This is good because I can focus more on getting the children to learn routines. So far they have been receptive to learning how I want things done. I just have to make sure I don't let them get carried away with the talking. 

One of the routines we practiced was the Morning Message. This year's anchor chart for the message came out much better than the one I did last year.

After making the chart, we did a practice message together. I showed them how to get their materials (pencil, clipboard, paper). Then, we went through the message sentence by sentence and tallied mistakes. After that, I showed them how to fold their note papers and put them in the Morning Message Bucket. 

The next day, I had them try one on their own. I only put 3 mistakes. However, only 2 people got it right. I'm sure more of them will get it right with practice. The children who get it right get a small prize. It's a great way to review skills taught in class.

Before going back to school (when I had lots of time), I made some table labels for myself. I liked them so much that I made them into a freebie for you. The colors are pastel, but they show up nicely in my classroom.

Click on the picture above to download.

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School Sale on August 18 and 19! All of my products will be 20% off, PLUS if you enter the code BTS13, TPT will take another 8% off. You'll get a total of 28% off of your purchase! Also, remember to leave feedback for all purchased items. If you do, you'll earn points good towards $$ off of your purchases. This works all the time, not just for the BTS sale!

Click on the banner below to visit my store.

Thank you to Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs for the sale banner!

I also have a brand new product! I decided to make editable templates based on a theme. Since My current theme is sea life, I went with that. 

In this packet you will find editable templates with a sea life theme. The templates can be used for nameplates, nametags, signs, word walls, notepads, binder covers, flash cards, and whatever else you can think of.

For nametags, simply print the page(s) on full sheet labels, then cut them to the appropriate size. The rest of the pages work best when printed on card stock. After printing, laminate for durability.

I have typed in the text boxes so you can see where they are. Simply replace my text with your own in whatever font and size you choose.

Click here or on the images above to check out this product.

Now, my question to you is this:

What themes would you like to see in editable templates?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Currently

I know - you're amazed that I'm posting twice in one day! I am too! :) It's time for Currently from Oh' Boy 4th Grade!

The Listening is self explanatory. The Loving is that I've lost 22 pounds this summer! I still have a long way to go, especially since the loss doesn't seem to show that much, but I'm very excited to have lost as much as I did. I hope I can continue to lose even after school starts!

As for the Thinking and Wanting - don't we all? I already have a to-do list of things I want to get done before we start school next week. This summer has been a fun and restful time for me, and I hate to see it end. 

Needing, well I'm kind of embarrassed about this. Since summer started, my sleep schedule has gotten WAY off track. I can't seem to fall asleep until around 3 am, and then I sleep until 11 or 12. It's going to be hard to get out of that bad habit. Yes, my son gets up earlier than that. He wakes me up when he gets up. I get him settled, and he keeps himself busy (he's very good at that). Then, I go back to sleep. Also, we live with my parents, so they are there to help out with him if he needs something. I consider myself very lucky!

Now for the back to school must-haves! I LOVE Sharpies of all different colors! I just love writing with the fine tip and using multiple colors on posters for my classroom.

Computer labels are definitely a must-have! It's so nice to just print out an entire class of names on labels to put on nametags, journals, folders, cubbies, pocket charts, and whatever else I need to put them on. It's so much easier than hand writing the names on everything like I had to do when I first started teaching.

As for the 2nd Grade Data Folder and Checklist, it's an item I found on TPT by 1st Grade is WeinerFUL. Our grading system and report cards are drastically changing this year. We will be starting to implement Common Core, and I am terrible at keeping data. So, when I found this product I was thrilled. There are pages and pages of charts for students to keep track of data, as well as Common Core checklists for them to use. Also, it's CUTE! Everyone who knows me knows I need to have teaching materials that are cute. If it isn't cute, I make it cute. If you want to check this out, click on the picture below.

Be sure to download the preview because it gives you a good overview of the product, and you get a few freebie pages in it. I don't plan to use all of the pages, but many of them will work for me. Also, I may print 2 pages each on the back and front sides of the paper to save on copy paper.

UPDATE: I found out she has them for Kindergarten and 1st Grade as well, and they are just as cute!

What are your back to school must-haves? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Back After All This Time!

After being lazy relaxing this summer, I'm finally updating my blog! I apologize for my absence. I'm finally ready to start thinking about school (now that we're going back on Tuesday!). I haven't been completely lazy relaxing the whole summer though. I did manage to copy all of my books on CD to the MP3 players for my listening center. I even have plenty of room on them to add more books!

I went to work in my room a few days ago, and was actually quite productive. I was able to arrange furniture, organize a bit, and put stuff up on the walls. This was a nice change since for the last 2 years I had to move my classroom and unpack. I was so glad I didn't have to unpack again this year. There is still lots to do though!

Instead of my usual rectangular white baskets for the children to put their supplies in, I found some really cute metal buckets that will match the colors in my room. I'm still working on a way to make the buckets quieter when they put their stuff in. Any ideas would be appreciated!

 I found these adorable buckets in the Target dollar section!

Later, I found these at Walmart for 97 cents! They have a label on them that says, "dry erase." I don't know what I would use that for, but it's nice to know I have the option!

I have a FREEBIE for you! It's a new lunch choice sign. I had another one with A, B, and C lunch choices (which is still offered for free at my store). My school no longer offers 3 choices, so I made a new one. This one is a better match for my decor.

If you'd like one for your class, click here.

At my school, we have an incentive plan for children to become fluent in addition/subtraction facts. I firmly believe in memorizing the facts, but some children might find that boring. So, I created 4 addition card games to make it more fun for children to become fluent in the facts. I plan to add games for subtraction, multiplication, and division very soon!

As a back-to-school special for you, I am offering each game at 50% off now through Sunday, August 4! The best deal for this is the bundle pack, which will normally offer all 4 games for the price of 3. At 50% off, you can get all 4 games for a little over the price of 1! 

Click on the pictures below to see details about each game.

It will be nice to get back to work, but I will definitely miss staying up late and sleeping in! I am not a morning person at all! We go back on August 6, and the children return on August 13. When do you return to school, or have your already returned?

Comments are always appreciated!