Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Twofer (Must-Haves and Technology Tip)

This post is going to be a twofer (two for one) because I just couldn't get around to linking up for Teacher Week via Blog Hoppin yesterday.  With the start of the school year, 32 home visits to complete (is anyone else required to do these for their kiddos?) and training for a Triathlon I've been exhausted!  I'm excited that I've finally found time to sit down and share my Must-Haves and my favorite Technology Tip with you!


I know most teachers would probably post coffee if they included any liquid at all in their posting but I try to limit myself to 2 cups a day and then I turn to my trusty, spill-free H20 bottle!  It keeps my hydrated and saves me from having to drink at the school water-fountains (which I have a fear of! :)

I discovered magnetic dots a year ago and I'm now obsessed!  I love turning white boards into bulletin boards with the use of some chart paper for backing and magnetic dots to display resources or student work.  It's so easy to rearrange and change things out!  You also don't have to worry about stapler marks starting to ruin your bulletin board sets or resources.  Love them!
My desktop calendar has been the answer to all my organizational prayers!  Every year I say that I'm going to be extremely organized and every year until I started using one of these I was a mess! So easy to use and always easily assessable in my room.  If you don't have one I urge you to run to the store NOW!
I don't even know what brand the projector I have at school is (which I should because I love it so much!) but it came into my life last year and changed the way I do a lot of things in my classroom!  Speaking of which.....my projector is the center of my Technology Tip!

Technology Tip:

My Technology Tip is focused on how to make Morning Calendar more exciting!   I tried for years but couldn't figure out how to do this until I got my projector and saw this video.  As soon as I saw it I knew that I had to incorporate the same thing into my morning calendar instead of having students simply use the math board.  (I do have my students do the Morning Calendar work independently on paper as their morning work but then we use the method showed in the video to review it)  I also show my students at least two videos a day directly afterwards.   We usually watch the same ones for a week or two until I know they have mastered the content or its getting old.  Typically, one videos is on a phonics/reading skill and another on math/science or social studies depending on our focus and the availability of a quality video that's free.  The review and videos together take 10 minutes tops and my kiddos LOVE IT!  Below are some links to FREE interactive websites that you could incorporate in your own Morning Calendar via your projector:


Variety of Different Tools for K-6:  http://www.windsorct.org/wpselemmath/eManipulatives.htm


Ten Frame: (there are a bunch of other tools on this site as well!)

Videos:  I usually just search youtube in order to find what I am looking for and of course always watch them before showing them to students.  Schoolhouse Rock vidoes are always a hit and Between the Lions has some great videos for K-2  http://pbskids.org/lions/videos/.

Other Tips for Implementation:

  • Save all the links you want to use during Morning Calendar into a Favorites file so they are easy to get to every morning.
  • Open up all the links in different tabs before your day starts so it goes quickly and keeps kids on their toes!
  • Plan out what you are going to saying and how you want students to respond before trying to implement this with students.  It makes all the difference!!

Do you know of any other great resources I could include in my Morning Calendar?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Its All Happening!!!

Well...it's actually already happened! Last week was a whirlwind of setting up my classroom, PD and Open House because yesterday was the first day of school!  My school went year-round starting this year so it feels like everything happened at warp speed!  I still can't believe that we have two days of school already under our belts!  I meant to write this post over a week ago so it's focus is on school prep and Open House!  Below are some pictures of my room and an Open House Scavenger House Freebie!

Here's my CAFE Menu Board and a reading incentive program called OH SNAP! by Hope King.  I'm
so excited to try it with my kiddos this year.  Click on the links to check OH SNAP out.  

My classroom jobs board which will be filled with "Sailor Trading" cards once I get a picture of the kids with the sailor hat on.  We have a nautical theme going on but its a little hard to tell just based on decor.  Next to the jobs board is my new Word Wall.

This is my favorite wall by far!  I love my yellow walls paired with the blue bulletin board paper!  Its mostly math resources with maps thrown in.  On the left-hand side is Hope Kings PSA (my classroom is a walking commercial for her stuff so I guess my blogs going to be too! :) 

I love my library!  Once I get a new rug it will be perfect!

  My school is in an old catholic school building and has these amazing built-ins!  The storage in them is awesome but they aren't so easy on the eyes.  This year my class will be voting on there favorite read-aloud and we will be posting the front cover and award here.

My classroom was finished just in time for Open House!  We do ours before the school year even starts.  The last two years I have used the Scavenger Hunt below to help make Open House run smoothly and to avoid having any families standing around not knowing what to do if I'm speaking to another student's parents.  It also helps the kids find important stuff in the classroom and put supplies away (my school has them bring them to Open House which is amazing!)  It's in word so you can adjust it to your needs.  If you have Open House after-school starts you could have students helping their parents complete one while learning about the classroom and seeing examples of their students work.  Let me know what you think or what you do for Open House!  

I'm off to relax for a minute and then call it a night!  First week=early bedtimes for me!