29 November 2015

When Pigs Fly (idioms freebie)

It's that time of year - the time when all the kids seem to have ants in their pants!  Hence, the reason for our study of idioms.  I love teaching my students about idioms because this seems like I'm teaching them a new language.  As if I'm unveiling a secret code into understanding adult talk!  (For the When Pigs Fly poster freebie click the image above!)

 Lately, that Justin Bieber song, "What Do You Mean?" has been playing over and over on the radio.  Well, not only does it get stuck in my head, but it seems to have inspired my latest set of TpT product ideas (understanding meanings of various phrases, allusions to Greek mythology.)  However, the first that has been created is all about idioms!
I plan on beginning my idioms unit this week with this little gem I whipped up, and instead of just telling the students what the idiom actually means without having them work for it.  I will be requiring they choral sing/respond "What do you mean?" after I give an example of an idiom.  Hopefully I don't get too many eye rolls but they're used to my lyrical ways by now.  After they've had time to practice and work with idioms, students will be assigned a different idiom to create pages for our class idiom book.  My idioms pack is available now at my TpT store! (click cover above)

While you're there, don't forget to pick up my 2015 holiday freebie geared towards 4.RI.9 and 4.W.9.  I'm so thankful for TpT and the blessings it has brought me over the past couple of years!
P.S. - Don't forget to catch Cyber Monday and Tuesday deals on TpT this week with the code: SMILE.

27 July 2015

Make it RING with BLING!

Happy to finally be teaming up wth Tara for her Monday Made-it linkup.  This week I'm sharing two projects that show off my love for the color turquoise.  They will be nice additions to my classroom!

#1 - DIY silver-dipped stools
you know what is great about these wooden barstools? They were FREE!  While doing a drive around my neighborhood in early June while we were having bulk pick-up (the time where the city allows you to place unwanted furniture items you do to want to haul off to the goodwill out on your driveway, along with your recent landscaping clippings, etc.) I found these!! They are about $16 a piece at Walmart so I figured I saved some money! 
 My inspiration and tutorial for the dipped look closely followed my pinterest inspiration, they used a raspberry base color and dipped the legs and stool top in gold.  See link here.  For my stool covers, I'm going to order these coordinating cushions from Etsy but until they arrive, I just used this fashionable shelf liner I picked up at Burlington Coat Factory last year.

#2 - Blinged Out Bell
Next up is my tiny make me happy project. Spray painted the bell turquoise (used to be hot pink) and added rhinestones from Hobby Lobby. I recommend getting the kind that peel off the clear film in one long strip that way it makes adhering around the base of the bell that much easier!! Super simple and satisfies my need for bling when I ring! :)

Be on the lookout for some classroom updates in the Made-It section of life because I'm heading back in for my first contract day of the school year today.  Luckily, no meetings, just teacher work time - woohoo bulletin boards!


22 July 2015

Leadership Notebooks (Starter Kit)

When I first started teaching at a Leader in Me school, students used Data Binders to track their academic and behavioral progress.  That was seven years ago!  Now, Leadership Notebooks have replaced Data Binders and I think I've finally wrapped my brain around how they are different.

Frequency of Use
Data Binders were basically kept at school and just shared with families during conferences as the students led their parents through their graphs and tests that reflected their quarterly grades.  Now, Leadership Notebooks are intended to go back and forth between home and school and give a more holistic picture of the child's development.  No longer just seen during student-led conferences.

Five Sections = 5 Tab Dividers
Pictures are more powerful than words so have a look at how my Leadership Notebook product may help you implement this progress documentation and home-school communication tool below!

Hopefully these tips will help you on your journey toward implementing Leadership Notebooks in your classroom!
To grab these printables, just click the product image above to head over to my TpT store and get your Leadership Notebook starter kit today!  

My Day in Snapshots (wordless Wednesday)

Wordless Wednesday meets 5 for Friday!  I guess hashtags and/or captions are words, but that's why it's a hybrid 5 for Friday-esque post.  Stay posted for more on my Leadership Notebooks and fancy silver-dipped stools!

21 July 2015

Grab It While It's Hot!

Standing in line with my gold foil star wall decals that I plan on using to snazz up my lunch tub, I spotted Common Core teacher posters while waiting for the next available cashier.  Since I saw my favorite word CLEARANCE stuck to the top of each poster, I was sure I would find something worthwhile.  I managed to score two Carson-Dellosa sets I couldn't leave without. The first is cool visuals on nonfiction text features, and the other is all about fractions!

When I head down to the district materials center tomorrow, I better not be making this face!
So here are the bulletin board sets I scored for $2.97 each PLUS 15% off with my JoAnn's teacher discount.  Check out a JoAnn's store near you if this is something you could use!

I've been neglecting my blog lately because I finally became a homeowner at the end of April!! Buying my first home, moving into the new home, decorating, installing the essentials (cable, alarm, a ClassyCloset, etc.), and trying to coerce contractors into giving me a good deal because I'm a teacher and then getting the project done before summer break is over has been how I've spent my hiatus.

Definitely not thinking I will get much of my lofty bathroom renovations started before August but I've come to terms with that by now.  I will practice my teacher patience!

17 April 2015

My First Adventures with PBL (project based learning)

Hallelujah!  State testing is done.  Everyone was a little anxious this year since we were making the transition to the computer-based testing (out with the old standards being assessed and in with the new ones)!

As a way to make our time in the classroom less stressful, I have had students studying caves in a mini project-based learning unit.  Our driving question was: How do caves form?  This was my first go with a PBL unit and having no real formal training in the area, I do find my classroom results match what the research has to say about motivating students and keeping them engaged despite what a highly exhaustive week this was with AzMERIT testing and all.

My 5 for Friday showcases my attempt to transition to a PBL classroom since we're breaking up with the Math and ELA rigid block schedule.  Hooray for freedom and the independence to integrate science and social studies more freely across the curriculum!

1. - PBL (project based learning)

PBL = Project Based Learning.  This is my PBS Focus Wall - sets a purpose for our study!  From the visuals I had seen posted, you need a driving question as well as a Know/Need to Know... chart.  The other thinking maps we used as we took notes and this has helped to scaffold and organize new information into digestible bites for the kiddoz.

2. Student Generated Cave Posters

I loved assigning my ADHD boys the role of "engineer."  I sent my engineers to gather supplies from the "building table" loaded with tubs of PlayDoh, construction paper, cardboard recyclable items, and let their imagination run wild!  The Lava Tube Cave engineer really thought creatively with his use of half of an egg carton to represent the Earth, Play-doh for the lava, and red pipe cleaners to represent the lava tubes that would cool and dry up over time.

3. Cave Day - Draw Like a Caveman (Towel Spread Out on Floor Beneath Desk)
Luckily my local grocery store was completely understanding of my request to have them "donate" paper bags to my classroom for our Cave Day art project.  After testing had wrapped, we celebrated with Cave Day - I had kids bring in old towels, pillows and flashlights.  Kids laid on top of their towels underneath their desks as they created cave art while on their backs.  

4. More Cave Art Fun!  (I had them connect to Rafiki's tree sketch of Simba from The Lion King)
This girl said she wasn't finished but I think the "less is more" really works well on her cave art.  She did an excellent job rubbing the pastels to create a more authentic feel to her artwork.  Pikachu, anyone?

5. Did I graduate with my Masters Degree to turn into a full-time test proctor? {apparently so}
Had to officially log-in and give students an online testing session ID on FIVE different occasions this week.  So long state testing and a week-long of proctoring, I'm ready to get back to teaching!!! Poor, over-tested kids all in the sake of "more accountability."  Who's winning here??  No way did my cell phone go anywhere near the computer lab, talk about an automatic "invalidation!"

13 March 2015

LUCKY YOU! St. Patrick's Freebie

So, I've teamed up with Layla from Fancy Free in Fourth for a St. Patrick's themed blog hop giveaway!

Can you believe it's the second Friday 13th this year? Two months in a row!!  I guess it's time to count my blessings, and truthfully I would be so lost without my supportive family.  Just had to packup my life in boxes, the house that I was set to close on fell through, and I now have a relaxing and comfortable place to stay because of my great familia!  So lucky I live so close by to them! :)

Last year, I created a St. Patrick's Day Printables pack for the Big Kids.  My GOLDEN FREEBIE comes from this set.  You will be able to enjoy the Shamrock Shimmy page to assess your students' knowledge of multiplication facts and prime/composite numbers.  Enjoy this St. Patrick's Day goodie by clicking the image below and downloading this sample from my TpT store!
See what other Golden Freebies you can find by hopping on over to Layla's blog (click the button below)!!
Fancy Free in 4th
May the Luck of the Irish be with you! :)

03 January 2015

Happy 2015 [FREEBIE, Thoughts, & Currently!]

As I thought about how soon it will be Monday morning, and the official end to winter break, I considered how highly unmotivated I will be to spend time (in line) at the copier!  Therefore, I figured I'd do a no printable required New Year's Traditions activity to expose my students to the various customs of countries around the world. 

Also, I want to know if they have any unusual family traditions for ringing in the new year.  This also builds classroom community - BONUS!  For example, my childhood neighbors had a tradition of clanking pots and pans at the stroke of midnight, whooping and hollering at the start of a new year.  I think it must have been a way to ward their home of bad spirits, but who knows, I never did ask!  My family and I always usher in the New Year with a fresh batch of menudo and a midnight toast.  

Long story short, that's how my NEW YEAR Traditions Presentation was born!  But, for those of you in need of a note-taking guide or something that shows your admin team that students are truly learning, I've added this companion freebie, which is indeed a printable! (Click IMAGE above)  

 I've seen posts similar to the one above on Instagram recently and feel like there's a lot of good energy and signs pointing to 2015 being a GOLDEN year.  It will mark ten years since my high school graduation, and 2005 was a great year for me, so I feel like this decadent anniversary will only have grandeur to offer!  Also, I have found so many cute gold home decor accents, which I LOVE!!

Currently 2015 - I guess I should make it a resolution to participate in all the monthly currentlys this year.  If I do it within the first 5 days of the month, I can treat myself to a glass of wine!  OMG... I am so like the children, MUCH better inclined to follow through when bribed!

CHEERS to the NEW YEAR!  Oh, and don't forget to visit Farley's Currently linky for January 2015!