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September 10, 2016

Happy Birthday California

You know when you get a hair brain idea and decide to run with it?  Yeah, I did that yesterday....

It started out with knowing it was time to create our region maps of California - we have finished the unit and need to move onto Native tribes next.  I decided to tackle the project on Friday, which happened to be California's birthday.  I sent home the note to my families earlier on in the week asking for 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt to be sent in by Thursday.... then I decided to throw a birthday party...  


Up before dawn to go grab donut holes, blow up balloons, hang streamers in the room and outside on our ramp.  It looked festive and I was pretty proud of myself. :) The look on their faces made it worth it.   Amazing what a little decorations can do to make the day special, I even made myself a shirt to celebrate the day.    


We tackled the salt dough maps outside, then they dried in the sun all day...


We played a few games in between our normal Friday tests, sang Happy Birthday to California, had the treats, did a California coloring sheet, turned on the disco ball, and they even had a party favor - their first homework pass of the year.


It was the perfect end to a pretty perfect week.  I hope you had a great week too!

September 7, 2016

Oriental Trading Made My Day


This school year started out on such a happy note, Oriental Trading company contacted me asking me if I wanted some goodies for my classroom (and in the process I would share about it here on the blog).  I said sure!  

There is a new Teacher Wishlist on their website this year.  Here is mine if you want to take a peek.  


I've known about Oriental Trading for years, they've always been the place to go for party supplies and when I needed some awards created for my class, but I didn't realize about all the other teacher supplies they now have in stock.  

Here are some of the things my students are using this year:


Those big reading strategy posters are absolutely awesome.  They are laminated and perfect to use during reading time.  I have passed out post it notes and students have written their thoughts before sticking them on our posters. They also sent me a pack of their famous pencils.  I use pencils as a way to reward students, and they love having something a little more fancy than the normal yellow variety.  



I have really bumped up my nonfiction reading in my class over the last few years as the standards switched with Common Core, and I was quick to add these Nonfiction Close Reading Tabs to my wishlist.  These have been great to use in small groups - I give the ones that are our focus for the week and they are able to pinpoint specific examples from the text.  Pretty cool!


Oh, these student answer paddles are so so cool!  They are made from cardboard, but they are perfect to use for a little quick answer session.  So much engagement.  


I also asked for this set of laminated magnets.  I've used them to write our workshop options on - all those must dos and may dos.  The kids get a kick when I pull them out.  

Thanks so much Oriental Trading for the goodies!  My students thank you too! 

Are you going to set up your own Teacher Wishlist?  It's so worth it!  Set one up, and then share your link with your classroom parents.  :)  Tis the season!     


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August 27, 2016

Quick Little Tour


Three weeks are complete and I'm sure you can relate when I say that I'm tired...  so very tired... I took these pictures weeks ago and then promptly forgot about sharing.  So here's a walk through of some of my favorite classroom areas.  

 The metal can is holding all the glow stick lanyards for this year's group of kids.  

For team points, I'm using glass mason jars.  They still make the loud sound when marbles are dropped inside.   

Here is my back wall - it houses our SS board, Grammar, Writing, and Student Work.  I changed up three boards this year to add in a lot more dark gray.  I absolutely love it.  


This is our information wall.  I took down the paper job list, and instead all the jobs are on the white/green apples on the wreath.  

This is our mini reading wall.  Over here I keep a lot of the different tools I use for our reading instruction.  

Here's an up close took at our SS wall.  Pocket chart will hold vocabulary and biography cards.

 Our superheroes still had to stay for our grammar wall.  

 The Writing wall is one of my favorites.  The chart paper now has our rainbow edit reminders.

I took down the bright colored background and went with black.

 Our lightbox is a favorite.  Once again the cord stopped working, but the battery option is working great.  We turn it on every afternoon during silent reading.  

Can't forget about my Whole Class Writing Journals.  This year I printed off the colors on bright card stock (4 per page) since my colored ink printer was being wacky.  I then stapled them onto regular folders.  Instead of spiral notebooks this year the kids are adding a piece of binder paper inside the folder when they write in it.
  

I added burlap to a lot of my classroom.  I feel like an adult with that addition.  :)  

Hope this helps!  Have a great day!