Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How does time get away?

I can not believe it has been 10 days since I have blogged last- how did that many days pass so quickly?  I have been trying to live up summer to the fullest with my 2 little ones, and I am sad to say it's coming to an end.  I have been working hard to get my classroom back in order (nothing like finding out the LAST day of school you have to move, huh?)  I have really been putting some time into my classroom library, which I will admit is a true obsession love of mine.  After spending so much time on it throughout the summer I often fear I will have a nervous breakdown once the kids finally get into it for fear of things getting "messed up".  I try to prep myself for weeks beforehand and usually handle the dreaded time like a trooper (at least in front of them :)).  I would love to share some pictures, but I don't have any quite yet- but I will share some of the new book labels I have been working on.  I think I will mount them onto solid card stock and then laminate and hang.  These are just the baskets I remembered, but when I get in there tomorrow I will make a list and finish them up and then have more to share.   I hope they are of use to someone.  Happy (almost) end of summer!
Book Basket Labels

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Something to Share

Ever since truly rolling up my sleeves and digging into being responsible for my own blog I have been a little worried about sharing things with all of my bloggie friends.  Not worried because I don't want to, quite the opposite.  I am SO worried because you all share so much and it's always amazing- that's A LOT to live up to and I have been known to take pressure poorly.  But, I am trying to overcome this anxiety and share what I can.  A lot of the cute centers and games (that I don't download from you generous people) I make on my Cricut- an amazing machine that changed my classroom forever.  Does anyone have one of these miracle workers?
     I can assure it does Ahh-mazing stuff, much of which I am still learning.  If you do happen to have one and use it for the classroom, I would love to hear or see what you do with it.  Since much of material is made with this angel, I can not share it because it is not on the computer obviously.  But, I do have a document here and there that I will give (if you would like to have it).  
     I know there has been some talk about Reader's Notebooks lately on a few blogs and I thought I would share a document I put in the front of my sweeties notebooks.  I have it in there notebook, pasted on the front cover, ready to go from day one- but they don't use it for awhile.  I like to go through each response as a class after a read-aloud.  Weekly I will choose 2 responses to focus on.  After I read a story we will do a shared writing to answer one of them.  After going through this bit we will put a green dot next to that response in our notebook meaning "it's a go"- they are able to use that one when responding to their reading on their own.  I like to have them respond 1-3 times a week depending on their reading level and the stations they visit weekly (If they are a lower level reader they may spend more time with me in groups and we will do a lot of responding together, so they may only do it once a week).  
     This is the first time I have ever shared a document, so I am hoping a few things-
         1.  I am hoping it works (with fingers crossed).
         2.  I am hoping it is something usable for you.
         3.  I hope it lives up to the sharing standards :).    
     That may seem a lot to hope for, but I have faith.  Click on the worm to check out this long awaited document.  

Awesome Giveaway

Check out adorable Adventures of Room 129 for an amazing give-away.  Her first place winner will receive a $25.00 gift card to...TARGET!  We all know how to spend some money there!  On top of the Target card (as if that's not enough) she will give three of her awesome items from her TPT store.  There is also some TPT loot in it for the second and third place winner.  The giveaway will end midnight onFriday- so hurry on over and JOIN!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to School Books-Linky Party

     Oooh, another linky party- I am uber excited!!  Mrs. Randall of Mrs. Randall's Learning Library is asking what our favorite beginning of the year books are.  Hmm...that's a toughie, because there are sooooo many that I LOVE.  I am a bit of a book addict (hey, it's better than other options I explain to my hubby) and I often have trouble choose just a few, but if I were forced to I would pick:
     1.  Just about ANYTHING by Helen Lester.  We did a BIG author study on her last year and we learned she used to be a second grade teacher and often turned former students into her characters most would see in a  classroom (I thought some of them looked familiar).  My favorites by her are:
I know this is quite a few, but I could not help myself- they are all so WONDERFUL.  "The Wizard, The Fairy and the Magic Chicken" is about team work and cooperation.  "A Porcupine Named Fluffy" is about accepting your name.  "Me First" is about a little piggy not wanting to wait turns (SO CUTE!!), and "Hooway for Wodney Wat" is about a little wodent (rodent) believing in himself.
     2.  Another beginning of the year MUST is "Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon"

Product Details

This is the cutest book about a little girl who may look or sound a bit funny, but she knows she is perfect just the way she is.  I love to use this to talk about believing in yourself and not always listening to what others say.
     3.  One I enjoy (and the kids as well) using to teach choosing a just right book is "Goldilocks and the three Libearians.  They love this book because they know the premise behind it and I love it because this one is tied to making sure you have the perfect book.

     4.  One more I lovelovelove is "Ruby the Copycat."  This is another great book for being your own person because no one can do it as well as you.

Product Details

I shared earlier that I am a bit of a book addict (Amazon is a FREQUENT guest at our home) and I only chose a few that popped into my mind quickly that others had not shared yet.  I could truly go on about this for...days probably :).  I hope you have enjoyed some of these amazing books, and if not check them out on Amazon- he we have to support the economy, right friends?

PS- I am trying to make all of the books links, but it is not working out so well for me- I don't understand. I am clicking on link but it seems to go to an automatic link sometimes and other times it will do nothing- any ideas what I am doing wrong??  Thanks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Challenges of Early Finishers

Hi Friends!
You know those little darlings in your class that seem to finish their work in 6.2 seconds flat, no matter what?  Well, I ran across a BRILLIANT idea for those sweeties- Brain Bubbles.  Have you heard of this little ball of genius?  If you have, you may already have ordered your vending machine capsules.  If not, you may think I am slightly crazy right now, and you may be right, but you MUST check out one of my favorite sights Proteacher.  Besides amazing ideas, support, resources (hey, it sounds like the blogging community-right?) they have a great vat of knowledge including all things brain bubbles.  Check it out and let me know what you think!  

Daily Schedule Linky Party

Simply 2nd Resources is having a daily schedule linky party and I'm all for a good party! This is my first EVER linky party, and I am a party girl at heart, so I am super excited!  My daily schedule is pretty consistent, unless it's Wednesday.  On Wednesday we have an "early release" day and we lovingly refer to it as "Wacky Wednesday" (and believe me when I say it can get all kinds of wacky!).  This is my schedule from last year and I am hoping to stick to it this year, but we have not officially received our specials and lunch times yet, so it's all a work in progress (as it usually is ).

     8:25-8:55-     Un-pack/prepare for the day/free read (I do Tier 2 & 3 of RTI at this time)
     8:55-9:10-     Morning Meeting/Shared Writing (Morning Message)
     9:10-10:30-   Reading Workshop (shared reading, stations, small group, conferences)
     10:30-10:50- Word Study (Making words, word sorts, word games)
     10:50-11:30-  Specials 1 (PE time)
     11:35-12:15-  Writing Workshop
     12:20-12:45-  Lunch (we eat with our students since we have 2 planning times-one is for lunch)
     12:50-1:30-    Math Workshop (small group, math stations)
     1:30-2:10-      Specials 2 (art, music, computers, media, math lab)
     2:10-2:30-      Math Wrap-up (we do our assignment at one time so I can be available to help everyone)
     2:30-3:00-     Centers (library, math games, art, computer,science, words) while I work with RTI students
    3:05-                Dismissal

You are probably thinking "where is the science and social studies?" No worries my friends, I have found that in a time of so much to do with so little time creativity is the key to everything.  Here is my Wednesday schedule:

     8:25-8:55      Un-pack/prepare for the day/free read (I do Tier 2 & 3 of RTI at this time)
     8:55-9:15-     Morning Meeting/Shared Writing (Morning Message)
     9:15-10:15-   Book Buddies
     10:15-10:45- Specials
     10:45-12:15- Science/Social Studies time
     12:20-12:45- Lunch
     12:45-1:05-  Science/Social Studies Wrap-up
     1:05- 1:20-   Team Building/Class Building Activity
     1:20              Dismissal

There are many days I wish we could go to one special just so I could have more time in the classroom, there never seems to be enough time.  This schedule worked fairly well for us this year so hopefully it will stay the same next year-it's grown on me.

Thanks for letting me be part of the party-it was tons of fun and I can't wait for the next one!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Count me in!!

Hello out there...
After months of stalking enjoying so many blogs I have decided to throw the towel in and join the band wagon.  Now, I just need to figure out what to blog about.  All of you out there sure do put the pressure on a  girl- with all of your witty comments, fabulous finds and amazing giveaways it's intimidating to start with the bar being set so high.  No worries, I brushed off my javelin and I am going to do my best to join this race.  I hope I can keep up!!