Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Stuck in a Rut

Hi Bloggy Friends!

Today I am linking up with Christina at Second Grade Sugar and Spice for her Wordless Wednesday.
Here is my picture:
It's a little spliced together, but I wanted you all to see it as a whole.  
Here's my question:  I am stuck in a rut!!!!  HELP PLEASE!!!! :)

This will be my FIRST year teaching middle school (6th grade math and science-two sections, so I will rotate between 2 classes, so I will only have 70 students or so total).  When I taught elementary school for 10 years the bulletin board ideas came EASILY!!!  TOO now I am stuck in a RUT as to what to put on my boards.  :(  I might get rid of the "Meet Me" since that looks kinda silly, although I like the idea of a student getting one week to showcase themselves...will that fly in middle school?!?!?

I also have one more board that size with NOTHING on it! :(  I think that I might but my post-it note exit slip board on there, but I am not liking the one that I made already...
Someone (I WISH that I knew who!!!!) had a super cute one on Instagram that I LOVED, so I might change it to numbers. (If anyone knows who had that posted, can you please let me know!) :)  

I also, thanks to Instagram discovered!!!  AHHHH, so now I have about 10 borders that I am in love with more than the ones that I have!  SOOOO, I will be doing some online shopping today.  I am going into school for a little while tomorrow, so maybe I will get some more ideas.

I'm asking for some ideas, please about WHAT can I put on boards in middle school?! :) 

 I already have a huge white board for my anchor charts and a Monday Made It idea coming for that, but I need some cute ideas for my boards, please!!!  Thank you!!!  Changing up what you know is TOUGH!  I have another idea of an interactive board where students can put up ideas about how they have used math in real life...what do you think about that??

Also, thanks in advance to those teachers that have already volunteered to donate something for my 100 follower giveaway coming soon!!!!!!  I can't believe that there are 100 people that even WANT to read what I have to say.  It's quite humbling!!!!  I am VERY THANKFUL!!!!  If you would like to donate something, please go HERE.  I'm less than 15 followers away!!!!!!! :)  YAY!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two for Tuesday and Getting SOOOO Close to My First Milestone!

I'm back in NC!  :(  Our 5 week Michigan vacation with family and friends is over.  So today has already been filled with laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, grass cutting (if you follow me on Instagram you already know it was SUPER crazy long because we forgot to have someone cut it!)...whew!  I already need a vacation from being home FROM my vacation! :)  Now that I'm home I have a list of a MILLION things to do for back to school!!!!

There's a lot to talk about today so let's get started!!!  

First, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO stinkin' close to having 100 followers on TPT AND Bloglovin' (like less than 20 away!!!)!!!  I already have over 100 on Facebook & Instagram, so these are my LAST TWO to hit.  PLEASE help me reach my goal if you're not already a follower!  :)  I already have a HUGE celebration in the works for a 100 follower giveaway! :)  I already have some VERY sweet teachers who have already volunteered to donate an item for the giveaway.  If you would also  like to donate, please fill out this form.  I appreciate it VERY MUCH! :)

Second, please head over to Mrs. Spangler in the Middle's website for her HUGE Anniversary Giveaway!! :)

Third, it's Two for Tuesday with The Teaching Tribune:

Today I am putting ALL of my Project Based Learning activities at 50% off!! Just click the picture to go directly to my TPT store. :)

 I blogged about these last week with Miss V and Mrs. D. for their back to school linky:
You can read about how I use these in my classroom for assessment HERE.  I think that you will love using these hands on activities. 

I hope that everyone has a WONDERFUL rest of the day!!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back to School Week 2: Assessment Tips

First, I would like to thank everyone that entered the giveaway for my back to school Student Procedure Handbook:

Congratulations to Stacy!!!  She won the prize!!! :)
Also, I am SOOOOOO close to having 100 followers on TPT, Instagram, AND Bloglovin'!  CRAZY!!!  I am already planning a SUPER giveaway for when I reach that milestone!!!  If you would be interested in donating an item, please visit HERE.
I'm linking up again with Miss V.  and Mrs. D. for their back to school (eeek) weekly linky:

So, this weeks topic is assessment.  I'm going to share TWO things that I have done that I have LOVED doing!!!

First, this is just a little assessment helpful hint.  For math, my students had "Toolkits" a binder where they kept all of their notes (foldables, handouts, etc.) and in it they also had their dry erase board.  All their dry erase board was was a clear plastic sheet protector with a piece of card stock in it!!  Perfect!  I also went to the Dollar Tree and bought baby socks for the kids to erase their boards. What was also great was they kids could stick the sock AND the marker in the plastic sheet, too so everything was in the same place! :)  I used these dry erase boards EVERY day in math.  It made for PERFECT formative assessment!!!!

The second thing that I started doing about two years ago was more Project Based Learning (PBL) activities.  These activities made for GREAT end of unit/novel assessments!!!!!  Who wants to just take a final test every time??  Boring! :)

What is GREAT about these PBL activities is that it takes EVERYTHING that the students have learned either in a unit or in a novel, lets them choose from a menu of differentiated activities which encompass ALL multiple intelligence's so the students are picking an activity that is fun and engaging to THEM!
I have done a PBL for all of the units that you see below:
My particular favorite was always Bud, Not Buddy just because my students ALWAYS love that book, and LOVE the projects!!!!  Same with the Blackbeard one if you're a NC teacher! :)
To assess each project I use a rubric which is included in the units.  The students always know what is expected of them up front, too.

You can find all of the units in my TPT store

Also, don't forget to stop by Mrs. Spangler's website this coming week for her AWESOME celebration giveaway!!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday, Giveaway, and a Future Celebration?!?!

It's Friday, and time to link up with Doodlebugs for FIVE FOR FRIDAY!!!!!

Here we go!
After leaving NC over a month ago, we only have TWO more days until we leave Michigan! :(  
My family and my hubby's family are 5 hours away once you get to Michigan, so we have logged a lot of miles since we left NC, but all worth it.  It stinks sometimes being so far away from home. :(  However, we are a little anxious to get back to our house and me personally, I am looking forward to wearing something besides the clothes that I have in my suitcase that I've been wearing for the past 5 weeks. :)

My blog got a bit of a lift the week from sweet Lindsey over at Thriving in Third!!  She does AMAZING work if you're looking for a blog upgrade. :)  She is ALSO celebrating her one year bloggiversary with a H-U-G-E giveaway, so please check her blog out! :)
Today is the LAST day to enter my giveaway!!!

This is a great resource for your back to school planning!!!  Going over the rules and procedures can get, well, let's face it...kind of boring, but this helps to flip the review by having your students talk about the procedures and teaching each other what they are!  By the end of the project you have a nice little class handbook for students to refer to, look back at, or even as a handy resource for a guest teacher!!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, as many of you know, we have a micro preemie, and we are PARANOID about stock in Germx paranoid.  All winter we went NOWHERE, so now that it's summer and not crazy germ season, we have been out and about. :)  Little Baby B LOVES being out and about...looking around at people at stores and just WATCHING things.  Last night we met up with my cousins for dinner, and this is my most FAVORITE picture from the night:
He was having WAYYYYYYY too much fun playing with empty to-go containers!!!  ha ha! :)
Ok, I am going to celebrate a little here....when I first started blogging about 2 months ago, I was nervous like I am sure everyone starts out.  I wasn't sure if ANYONE would care to read what I had to say, care what I did in my classroom, or even buy anything with their own hard earned money that I put out on TPT.  However, as I am now obsessed with ALL of this, I have learned one BIG THING.  Teachers are SERIOUSLY the nicest people EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I already am feeling the love and support, have met some GREAT blogging buddies, and had an outpouring of support which I am so grateful for!!!!

I am already sooooooo close to my first milestone!  100 followers!!!  I celebrated when I got to 100 on Facebook, but I am super close to 100 on EVERYTHING which is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I will DEFINITELY want to celebrate it because like I mentioned above it amazes me that there ARE people who care to read what I say. :)  I am very thankful for that!!!!!!!  I will be having a giveaway once I do reach that milestone, so I am planning ahead. :)  
If you would like to donate an item for my future celebration please fill out a form HERE.  Thank you!!!!!! :)

I hope that everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why I do What I Do: Homework Linky & Givewaway

Today, I am linking with a fellow Michigander, Christina at Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas for her Why I do what I Do linky.
Ahhhhh...the one word that students dislike...HOMEWORK!  :)  It has taken me awhile to figure out how to really DEAL with homework.  Now, just when I had a system down, I am switching to middle school! Now I have to learn a NEW system!  Any middle school teachers reading this and have some insight???? :)

When I FIRST started teaching I would collect all of the homework, check it ALL, then return it.  Now I know better! :)  I've learned that not all students do THEIR OWN homework:

 and ME checking it did NOTHING for the students.  Not to mention the GIANT pile I would get behind on!!!

So, here was how I dealt with homework the past 2 years, and I have LOVED it.  I really don't believe that students should have a lot of homework.  I think that kids should be kids, and with most kids involved in so many extra curricular activities, there just isn't TIME for a lot, and honestly FAMILY COMES FIRST.  With fourth grade I don't really do a weekly homework communication because I feel as though they need some independent responsibility at this point, so they record everything in their agendas.

First, I only really assigned MATH homework.  I used to do a reading log, but then again, the students who were GOING to read, did, and the ones who weren't weren't and their parents would just sign their log.  I ask my kids to read at night, and most do.  Either way, I can't MAKE them do it...they need to WANT to do it.

Second, I made "Homework Checker" one of my classroom jobs, and assigned it to one of my responsible 4th grade kiddos.  Their job in the morning was to go around with the clipboard and make sure kids HAD their homework, showed work, etc.  This worked SUPER well for me because it saved me a TON of time in the morning!!!

Third, Every 9 weeks I allow my students 3 strikes with no penalty for missing their homework.  The reason I do this is because EVERY ONE forgets from time to time, even me.  So out of 45 days, I allow 3 free misses.  However, if they DO NOT miss ANY in 9 weeks I reward them with no homework passes, classroom money, etc.

Last, I have learned to go OVER my homework at the beginning of my math lesson.  It's not always me just reviewing it, sometimes I will have them review as a group independently and coach students that may not have the right answer.  Or I play Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up (a Kagan Activity).  I learned through a self-reflection that me just going over the answers isn't very engaging. :)  Periodically I would also collect their homework to look it over to make SURE they were doing it like I expect.  I also make sure the students know that homework is just a way of knowing if THEY are understanding what I am teaching.  When it comes to homework my philosophy is:

I care more about WHY you got it wrong and now know how to fix it, than you got it wrong.

Also, today is the LAST day to enter my giveaway!!!  It's not about homework, but it's always nice to get something for FREE! :)

This is a great resource for your back to school planning!!!  Going over the rules and procedures can get, well, let's face it...kind of boring, but this helps to flip the review by having your students talk about the procedures and teaching each other what they are!  By the end of the project you have a nice little class handbook for students to refer to, look back at, or even as a handy resource for a guest teacher!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordless Wednesday and a Giveaway!

Well, it's my LAST Wordless Wednesday in  Michigan, so any of my next pictures will probably be of back to school stuff....ahhhhhhhh, say it ain't so! :)  So, I am linking up with Christina at Second Grade Sugar and Spice with the last of my vacation pictures (I know, I know...enough already, right??  haa haa...)  
Here it is folks:
No filter!!!  I like to call this my happy place....the ONE place where I can be TOTALLY relaxed!!!!  It's kayaking on Lake Huron.  The smell, view, and serenity can't be beat!!!!!!  Where is YOUR happy place???

Also, don't forget today is the last day to enter my giveaway!!!!!  

This is a great resource for your back to school planning!!!  Going over the rules and procedures can get, well, let's face it...kind of boring, but this helps to flip the review by having your students talk about the procedures and teaching each other what they are!  By the end of the project you have a nice little class handbook for students to refer to, look back at, or even as a handy resource for a guest teacher!!  

a Rafflecopter giveawa

ALSO---don't forget to head over to visit Lindsey at Thriving in Third and enter  her MASSIVE giveaway with items for ALL grade levels!!!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Two (or more) for Tuesday and a GIVEAWAY!!!!

It's time for Two for Tuesday again with The Teaching Tribune.  
 This week I couldn't decide what to put as my 2 for Tuesday, and I was feeling generous, soooooo...I put ALL of my math resources at 50% off for today!!!
All of the task cards have 24 cards each and are word problems. Best part is they are only $1.50 each!!!!!  CRAZY DEAL!  The Early Bird Gets the Worm is a fun activity with fractions on a line plot that contains a game and worksheets.  If you click on the above picture it will take you DIRECTLY to my TPT store! :)

Now, onto MORE fun stuff!!!  I finally as I mentioned before "fancified" my Student Procedure Handbook that I use every year:
This is a great resource for your back to school planning!!!  Going over the rules and procedures can get, well, let's face it...kind of boring, but this helps to flip the review by having your students talk about the procedures and teaching each other what they are!  By the end of the project you have a nice little class handbook for students to refer to, look back at, or even as a handy resource for a guest teacher!!  

I gave it away earlier on this week as a Flash Freebie, and I got some great feedback!  As promised, if you missed the flash freebie, you can win it today for FREE!!!!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below!  This is my first giveaway (they always look like so much fun!!!), so I'm not sure if anyone will even enter,  but we will see!!! :)  I hope that you do!!!  It really is a great activity for your students!  Don't forget to follow me on TPT, too just in case I update the file!  That way you can go back and get the update for FREE. :)

You have 3 days, and many chances to enter!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrate with Lindsey at Thriving in Third!

Good Morning!
I just wanted to let you all know that my bloggy friend Lindsey over at Thriving in Third is having a MASSIVE giveaway for her 1 year Blogiversary!!!!!
She has some AWESOME prizes, so if you haven't been over her way yet, take a minute today to do so!  She has a fabulous blog! :)
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Classroom Management Linky-What Works for Me!

Today I am linking up with Miss V and Mrs. D for their Back to School Blogging. :)

The topic this week was classroom management.  This is something that has taken me a long time to "perfect", but then every year when the class changes it needs to be tweaked.  It is also something that I feel that no one can "teach" you.  It is just something you learn and adapt what works for you and your personality as you start teaching!  However, THIS year I am doing something COMPLETELY different though since I will be teaching middle school, so details on that to come. :)

I wish that I had pictures of everything, but I don't.  Boo.  Anyhow, I used a classroom economy.  I had a clip chart, and students earned stickers on their clips every day that they were on outstanding. 

 Another thing I implemented with the clip chart was if they were NOT on outstanding at the end of the day, they could ask me why if they felt that they WERE outstanding.  This worked well for me because sometimes it just gets so busy in a school day that it's easy to not always remember to keep clipping up.

  For every 10 stickers that they earned they received a reward.  For example, 10 stickers earned them a necklace.  Every 10 stickers after that they earned a character trait charm which I ordered from Fitness Finders.  They also got to place their fully stickered (that should be a word) clip on their necklace, too which was like bragging rights.  Also, once they hit big milestones like 50 days or 100 days they earned something big.  For example, 50 days was a little trophy for their desk. I also rewarded them with Bird Bucks.  

I made money called Bird Bucks (since our classroom theme was owls-I have also used Sand Dollars and Critter Cash in the past), and the students could earn them for ALL sorts of things!  They saved them up all week and on Friday's they could make purchases.  They kept the list below in their H.O.O.T. take home folder so they could look at it to decide what they wanted to buy.  

The list is on my TPT website for FREE, so just click on the picture above if you would like to take a better look. :)  Best part about most of them is they don't cost me ANYTHING! 

If students end up choosing to break a rule I use a thing called a "think sheet" which makes the students reflect on the rule that they chose to break, why they chose to, and what they can do differently next time.  I like this because it also leaves me a paper trail! 

I also am BIG on going over the rules and procedures at the beginning of the year, as in taking a week or more to really make sure they know the expectations, and PRACTICING things that they don't do the correct way.  For example, if it's time for recess and my students don't line up quietly, we do it again.  It sounds kind of mean, but it really only takes once or twice to practice before they know you mean business. :)

I also have my STUDENTS teach each other about the classroom procedures, and THEY make the student handbook.  I just give them a question such as "what is the procedure for..." and they finish it.  This will be available in my TPT store sometime early on this always I will Flash Freebie it first to my Facebook fans, so if you haven't headed over to my page, PLEASE DO. :)  So far it's up to 30 pages, and I am still making sure I didn't forget anything! It's the same one I've used in the past, but I have needed to fancify (yet another word that should be a word!) it before I share it.  Even though I won't be in fourth grade next year, my hubby will so he can use it, too!:)

I hope that this gives you some new ideas to try!!  I can't wait to read what every one else has to share!post signature

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday. Facebook Fan Freebie, and Two for Tuesday EXTENDED

It's Wordless Wednesday, and time to link up with Christina at Second Grade Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday!

 Here is my picture:
It's from my Up North Michigan visiting family trip!!  My favorite view in the evening and during the day. :)  My question is...what should I do with all of these "nature" shots that I have been taking?? :)

Also, this picture is on my INSTAGRAM page...YES, I finally made a teacher Instagram page!!!  I'm trying to mix it up though, a little teaching stuff, a little ME stuff, too.  You can find me HERE.

Last but not least, one last reminder that I extended my Two for Tuesday sale until today because I linked up late yesterday.
Click above to be linked to my TPT store and check it out! :)

LAST REMINDER:  Today I will be having a FLASH FAN FREEBIE on my Facebook page to celebrate my 100 followers, so if you haven't headed over and liked me, now is your chance!! :)  It's a flash fan freebie of my 24 set of multi-step word problem task cards, so you don't want to miss it!!!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TWO FOR TUESDAY and Facebook Fan Flash Freebie!!!!!

I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune today for Two for Tuesday!!!
So, there are TWO products in my TPT store that are 50% off today AND TOMORROW (since I am linking up late), and this week I am going for literacy!!!
Both my The Best Christmas Pageant Ever unit AND my Poppy unit have been used in my classroom, and worked really well.  I was very happy with the questioning, and my students really benefited from going THROUGH the text and finding that text-based evidence!!!  

Poppy is an entire unit with questions for each chapter, cross-curricular activities, and a final test.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever unit is complete with questions for students (but also written on discussion cards for easy use in literature circles or group work), a final test, and activities.  So, for less than $10.00 today you can get TWO COMPLETE literacy units!!!  Now that's a deal! :)

Also, yesterday I hit my 100 fan goal (YAY) for my Facebook page, so there will be a flash freebie for FANS ONLY sometime tomorrow.  So, if you haven't stopped by my page, PLEASE do. :)
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Sale and Soon to be Facebook Fan FREEBIE

I just wanted to send out a quick reminder that today is the LAST day of my 20% off summer sale!

Thank you to everyone that has been by to visit me!  Just click on the picture above to link directly to my store to have a peek.

Also, I am hard at work on a new product. 
This time I plan to make it ONLY a FACEBOOK FAN flash freebie, so if you don't already follow me on Facebook, now is a great time to head over and join me! :)
Have a great Sunday everyone!!!!
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday

It's Friday, and you know what that means!  :)  Time to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the Five for Friday!!
For those of you that read my blog, you know that I am in Northern Michigan right now visiting my parents. Yesterday I finally crossed another item off my bucket list!  Kayaking Ocqueoc (Ah-key-ock) Lake & River!!  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!!  So quiet, and it seemed like every time I turned around a little muskrat was swimming along side of me! :)  Also, since it was Michigan and not North Carolina I didn't need to worry about cotton mouths. :)

Our son has also been enjoying Northern Michigan as well...

He went kayaking for the first time!  It looks like it worked pretty well, but you can't see that my hubby has MY kayak tied to his, and he is doing all of the paddling...we are just riding. :)  He is out and about outside playing when he is not receiving an abundance of snuggles from Grammy and Grampy!!!!!!!
We have been doing our fair share of rock collecting!  We have had something in mind to make for over a year now, and we have been hard at work collecting what we look for a Monday Made It! in the near future!!! :)

We had two rainy days, so I was able to put the finishing touches on my customary measurement conversion cards.  It is a set of 24 task cards which are ALL word problems (GREAT for use for FUN test prep activities).  
You can click on the cover to take you to this item in my TPT Store.  I also had them up for free for a limited time with an announcement on my Facebook page.  So, if you're not already a fan, please join me!  I have flash freebies often! :)
Finally, there are 2 more days to shop my TPT SALE! Click the picture to go directly to my store. :)
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