Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

I'm linking up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday. 

1. This first pin comes from Notes From the Patch. 
How many of us teachers have dingy, but functional milk crates floating around our room.  I just used this tutorial and made two crate covers, only I didn't sew the covers.  I used stitchery, and it worked pretty well!  The covers turned out really cute! I will post pics when the crates are in my classroom.

2. The second pin is a link to a website of a cool dude named Cybraryman. There are some really terrific ed tech tips here as well as some great back to school ideas.  I love this site!

3. The third pin is something I think is amazing! It's a link to instructions on how to make your own clip art from your very own artwork! Say what?? I didn't even know that was possible.  I don't know where I thought all that clip art came from. A magic fairy? A stork? The grocery store? You've got to check it's pretty simple sounding.

4. If you want to try to make your own clip art, you're going to need your own scanner.  (Kinda reminds me of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, You're Going to Have to Give Him a Glass of Milk. I apologize, I had birthday cake today.  My big sister turned a very special age today! :-)) This pin takes you to a link that allows you to use your IPAD as a scanner.  Again, AMAZING!  I heard about this at an Edcamp I went to a couple of weeks ago and did some digging.

5. And finally, the fifth pin.  I spent the beginning of my week at GT training.  I was reminded of how important creativity is for our students and how sometimes we stifle their growth.  This pin speaks perfectly as to the way we should teach.

I've got a fun-filled weekend ahead-family luncheon tomorrow and taking my big girls to camp on Sunday.  Maybe I'll have time to do some more pinning on the long drive up to camp!  Have a terrific weekend, all!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It

Phew! I'm home from a great vacation (hence the blog hiatus) and I'll spend the majority of my week at a GT workshop.  Fun Stuff! In an effort to bring some light into my world, I'm linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

I needed something cutesie for my supplies that I don't like to keep on the desks at all times-things like scissors which cut erasers clear off the tops of pencils and glue which somehow finds its way stuck to things other than paper. Of course I had to have silver tubs to match what I created in this post and always need something inexpensive.  Enter Save on Crafts !  Have you seen this site?  If not, hurry over.  It's so incredible and reasonable.  Very cute stuff! I found these awesome tins for about $2 a piece.

I labeled the bins with free labels from Ladybug Teacher Files. Most buckets are filled with your "normal" classroom supplies, but there are two special buckets I'd like to tell you about.

Both buckets contain editing MAGIC!

First, this bucket, which holds glasses from Oriental Trading Co. for my students to use, so they can put on a "writer's eye".

Second, this bucket which will hold numerous "Miss Bartlebine Pens".  The book pictured below is all about the run-on sentence and how it is no match for Miss Bartlebine and her pen.  I gave these special pens to my students right before standardized testing last year, so they could feel like they had a little something extra to help them through their test.  This year, I plan to introduce it much sooner and send those pens on the hunt for the no-good rotten, run-on all year long!

Happy Monday, everyone!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Made It

Happy Monday morning! Not counting today, I have four Mondays left before I'm officially back to school! Wow-that went really fast! 

Do things count as "made its" when you just found it, printed, and cutesied (I know--it's not a word) it up? (I know--I ended a sentence with a preposition-I hope you can't stand my grammar problems long enough to read my post.)  

I'm excited to share my "made its" this week because I've found and semi-created quite a few free resources.

First, from others:

Kristen from Fantastic First Grade Ideas has this free "1 Minute Until Dismissal" download in her TpT store. I laminated those and sassed up the top with a little fun ribbon in my class colors. You can't see the top very well, but I'll post a better pic when I get into my classroom. (Okay, okay, I didn't cutesie up the top but I will. The creativity zapped me while writing this post. I'm going to hole punch and add ribbon-ya know sort of like ribbon flip flops?)

Next, Being Inspired Blog has these terrific brain breaks that my ten year old approved as fun stuff! I laminated these and placed them on a ring to be hung on these nifty little 3M gadgets.

 If you saw Friday's pin, you saw I'm really into "Morning Meeting" this year.  I found another awesome resource from Mrs. Bainbridge's Class Website which is a free printable of over 34 morning greetings.  All but one was approved by ten year old. She said, "Mom, we're too old for that!"

This class journal idea came from a sweet teacher friend's pinterest pin.  She, Amy, pinned these sometime during the year and from the moment I saw them, I knew I had to make them a functional part of my room.  I changed up a couple of the subjects/topics a bit.  I wonder how many years of student writing I'll be able to keep-How cool is that?

Now onto two items I semi-made.  I just recently finished, The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell. One of the things she does to inspire kids to want to read is something called "Kids Recommend". On her school website, there is a list of many books that have been improved by different age groups of kids.  I think my students would be more inclined to read a book another 4th grader has chosen.  So, I downloaded the list for grades 3rd-6th and added a cover sheet with a cool quote-one for boys, one for girls. I'll place these on my "Kids Recommend" bookshelf. If you click on the picture, I've shared a google doc with you.

Saved for last, my "When I'm done cards" also known as challenge cards.  These aren't free, but they're only a buck.  That's almost free, right?  I created sixteen challenge cards for my students to work on if they ever finish early.  I wanted to make my own because I wanted the students to work on tasks that might enrich their work a bit.  I included some social studies tasks, too.  I love the way the ring goes right through the leaf on the apple (I get plain nutty about ridiculous things like that.)

I hope you guys have a terrific Monday.  I can't wait to see what you've all created.  


Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

I'm linking up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for Favorite Pins Friday.  I pinned like crazy this week-just like Cara said. Below are my favorite five.

1. This first pin comes from Rowdy in Room 300 and Dots-n-Spots. 
Rowdy in Room 300 provided the hallway inspiration and Dots-n-Spots provided the TPT freebie.  My team and I put a spin on this to create a reading incentive program using the guitars and their frets as a monitoring tool.  I'll show pics when we have it accomplished.

2. The second pin comes from a gal name Mandie Funk via Slideshare.  I want my morning meetings to be much improved this year and I like the structure she provides here.

3. The third pin is just plain cute!  CT Baker in the Acres designed the most adorable bookmark.
This could be a great first week activity to get kids excited about reading.

4. The fourth pin is very awesome! It's an app that allows you to find the lexile level, DRA, or Grade Equivalent for any book by scanning the ISBN on the back of the book.  Click the picture and you will be taken to the site.

5. And finally, the fifth pin is one that just makes me laugh.  I had a pretty terrific grandfather, one of my most treasured people.  He would have done something just like this!

I hope you received a new idea and a good laugh from my pins!  Happy Friday, everyone.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Liebster Blog

I am tickled pink that I have been nominated for a Leibster Blog Award!   I started my blog June 21st, so I'm over the moon excited to be nominated by Lisa at Fluent in Fourth.  She's a really cute fellow fourth grade teacher.

Being part of the "blog world" has been such a blessing.  I've learned more in 3-4 weeks than I could have ever imagined.  Everyday, I'm inspired by such intelligent, dedicated teachers.  I spend a lot more time on my tookus than I should, but at least my brain is growing along with my rear.  Hee Hee!

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

Here are the 11 questions that I had to answer: 
1. If you could choose any 2 consecutive months of the year to have your "summer" break which months would you choose? 
June and July 
2. If you could take your class on a field trip to anywhere in the world where would you go? 
I'd take my class to Washington, D.C.  Learning and inspiration can't help but happen there.

3. If you weren't a teacher what would you be? 
I'd be an interior designer in New York City.  (Hey, if I'm going to pretend, why not pretend BIG!)
4. If you have a day all to yourself what is your favorite way to spend it? Blogging, of course!

5. What is your favorite food? Dill Dip and Kettle Chips.  It's the perfect blogging snack~hence the growing tookus!

6. If you were stuck on an island and could only have 3 items with you what would they be? 
A Kindle, a notebook, and a hammock.
7. What is your favorite vacation spot? 
Anywhere by the beach...
8. Do you have any pets? 
No. I want to, but I feel sorry for the pet I would have because we'd never be home to spend time with him or her.  I'm always running my three kiddos somewhere.
9. Do you prefer the mountains or the beach? Beach. I'm always cold.

10. What is your favorite tv show? Scandal

11. What book have you read recently that you would recommend? The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell. It's a great book about the importance and logistics of reading workshop.  The book really teaches you how to hold students accountable while still reading purely for love.  Check it out!

Here are my 11 random facts:
I've been teaching for 9 years and I still love it ALMOST everyday.
I'm married to my high school sweetheart.
I have three daughters whose names are in alphabetical order (My mom started it-she was a tad OCD.)
I love basketball but none of my children want to play.
I can't remember song lyrics to save my life, so I just pretend I know the words and kinda hum the tune.
I love a good bargain!
I have a serious addiction to chocolate chip cookies and diet coke.
I love vintage home decor.
I'd love to be able to box--in a ring--with gloves--cage style. Grrr!
I love to bake.
I always want to have conversations about anything that causes "deep thought" instead of the frivolous.

Here are the questions I'd like to pose to my nominees:
What is your favorite thing about blogging?
What's your favorite linky?
What's your favorite type of writing?
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Who was your least favorite teacher and why?
What happened on your "favorite" first day of school?
What's your favorite teaching memory?
What piece of advice do you give out the most?
What's your favorite teaching tip/trick?
If you could give one gift to your students, what would it be and why?
What's your idea of fun? 

Thank you for the nomination, Lisa!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Made it

I'm linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made it.  I think I have a problem!  Seriously, folks.  There's an entire, page-long list of Made its in my composition notebook thanks to all you smart cookies! Because I want to place a "strike-out" line through every one before school starts, I went a little crazy--I'd dare even say neurotic and made six classroom items in an afternoon. The trick to accomplishing this was....

There they are. The keys to six "made its"! Diet Coke and one, maybe two, okay, three chocolate chip cookies {another problem I have}.

Here are the final products.

1. I made this welcome banner using that tutorial I wrote about in this post.

2. I had three old frames from my girls' playroom. (The color scheme wasn't working anymore.) I made this to do post it station, a birthday board, and a no name board. I got the birthday IDEA from Erica Bohrer's First Grade. I was inspired by the one jillion "no name" Pinterest pins out there.

3. I made compliment jars for each of my four tables and one large jar for the entire class. I decided to use warm fuzzies to fill the buckets.

4. Finally, I began my birthday gifts for my students. I used this pin to inspire but changed it to a homework pass on a piece of cake because I found awesome clipart for teachers from My Cute Graphics. I'm going to attach it to crazy straws because my 10 year old said that's definitely more awesome than a pencil! I thought about a pixie stick as well but decided against it. I laminated the pass, thinking when students redeem their pass I can recycle. We'll see if that is wishful thinking works out. If you'd like to recreate, it's a freebie in my TPT store.  It's my first product, so please feel free to tell me if the quality is just plain horrible.

I can't wait to get these into my classroom!

Happy Monday!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Optimum Organization (July 6th)

Good mornin'!  Today I'm linking up with Fun in Room 4B to share an organizing tip.

"Mrs. Bordano, where's the stapler? Mrs. Bordano, where's the tape dispenser? Mrs Bordano, I can't find the hole puncher? Mrs. Bordano, I need to visit the nurse." After questions like these my usual response is, "Did you look in it's place on the shelf?" whereby my students usually respond, "Where?" In their defense, the shelf is approximately 33 feet long and usually there are student projects, books, etc. located there as well.  So I start hoofin' around the room in search of the item in need, taking me away from the student conference I was having. Sound familiar?

When there's a problem, figure out a solution!  My solution is a funky fun white basket. At home, if there's a place for something, it also needs a container. When it has a container, amazing things happen! 
In an effort to keep things organized in the basket I've created and laminated "Where's the stapler" pictures to be placed inside the basket.  I know the students probably won't put them in the exact spot, but the power of suggestion can sometimes be magical!

I hope this will save valuable time and forever cease the question, "Where's the stapler?"


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July Currently

Well I was going to be #469 in the July Currently, but then I headed to Pappadeux's for my 6 year old's birthday dinner! I can't believe my youngest child is 6!  Regular old bananas!!

I found out recently one of my very good teacher friend's actually knows Mrs. Farley--lived in the same neighborhood actually (if you read my June Currently you know I call her Mrs. because I don't know her). Small world!

Listening-a girl has to listen to some snappy music when she's being manic and organizing!

Loving-Almost every closet, cabinet, drawer in this house is organized! Can you hear the music?  It's the Angels singing! I'm loving you all so much because you so darn smart!  I'm learning so much! In my dreams, I've been blog hoppin'! Crazy!

Thinking- I've been reading Nancie Atwell's, The Reading Zone.  I've struggled with what to do with my struggling, non-motivated readers.  I know choice is key, but it just wasn't working!  I let my students choose what they read because I know that's what works.  I've read/learned that a ton! I discovered the problem--me!  I don't know/haven't read enough children's books to help make great suggestions!  My true knowledge (not just synopsis) of great books isn't vast enough.

Wanting-I need a magic wand to accomplish the list of things I need to get done in the next four weeks! I would love to be able to read a book in 10 seconds because then I would know the perfect book for all my students! I'd also be able to finish The Reading Zone, Teach Like a Pirate, and Notebook Connections.

Needing-I have table compliment jars to make, a class compliment jar to make, a birthday board, a "When I'm Done" board, an Essential 55 meets 8 keys of Excellence board, and a curtain for door window! Whew! I told ya I needed to get crafting! When I'm done, I'll post pics and show you where I got all the ideas.

Tips, Tricks, and Hints-These tips are from the Fly Lady.  I learned about her while I was on sabbatical from teaching when my girls were itty bitties! My favorite two tips are wearing your tennis shoes and shining your kitchen sink every night before you go to bed. A girl has to put her tennis shoes on in the morning if she wants to get anything productive'd be amazed what you can accomplish.  You'll feel like a racer! :-) Finally, if you want some motivation to keep/get that house clean, start with the kitchen sink.

Here's to the Black Eyed Peas, magic wands, tennis shoes, and shiny kitchen sinks!