Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blog makeover!

Yesterday was very exciting, because my little blog got a fantastic makeover! Megan at A Bird In Hand Designs did an amazing job, and she got it all finished in just 2 days.

My TPT store will be getting a mini-makeover too, thanks to Megan's adorable graphics. I don't think I will change my store name to match, though. All those Pinterest links, and all :)

It's back to work for me today, and school starts Monday, so this girl is super busy! My summer ended way too soon. Enjoy what's left of yours!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It - My personalized teacher planner!

I never seem to find a teacher planner I like, so last year I decided to make my own. I learned a lot the first time, and I updated it this year.  I am SUPER excited about the teacher planner I made myself for this year!

I included the following sections...

Calendar Tab
  • I added our district's yearly calendar for reference, because I always seem to be searching for my copy.
  • Birthdays page for the entire class
  • 2013-2014 monthly calendar. I didn't make this one because they are super time consuming to make, and there are SO many cute ones on TPT for free this year!
  • This year, I used Marshall in the Middle's Freebie Calendar, and I am LOVING it! Grab yours by clicking the picture below.
Grades Tab
  • I added 26 gradebook pages so I'd have one for each subject, for each quarter.
Curriculum Map Tab
  • Pages for year long planning. Maybe if I do a great job of penciling it all in this year, I can type it up next summer, and not have to reinvent the wheel (again)!
Parent Communication Tab
  • 2 pages to enter my students and parents' contact information
  • 10 copies of the parent communication log
Notes Tab
  • Full & half page notes sheets for all those meetings :)
You may have noticed that there are no lesson plan pages...That's because a coworker introduced me to an AMAZING online planning site that I am going to use again. (I'll blog about it once I get mine set up for this year!)

Other things you might want to add: state/common core standards, textbook pacing guides, etc.

If you're still reading, and you want to make your own planner this year, head over to my TPT store to get yours. Or better yet, be one of the first TWO people to comment on this post with your email address, and I'll send it to you for FREE!

Happy planning, everyone!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Freebie Friday! Whole Brain Posters

Have you tried Whole Brain Teaching with your class?

Last year, a coworker introduced me to Whole Brain Teaching, and I knew it was a good idea... but if I'm being honest, I didn't do so well with implementing it. I think that's because I hadn't bought in fully (I know, I know). Fast forward to this week...

Another coworker told me how excited she was about using WBT this year, and told me I needed to read the book by Chris Biffle. (I really should listen to these girls; they're smart!) One Kindle download and a couple of chapters later, I was hooked. For some reason, reading about the way the teacher in the book implements the strategies and rules during the first weeks of school really motivated me!

I can't wait to get started using WBT in my class this year, so of course, I had to make some cute new signs. You can grab them FREE in my TPT store or by clicking on the picture. Includes rules and callbacks in bright colors with adorable birds!

P.S.: This is also my first time joining Teaching Blog Addict's Freebie Friday Linky Party!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hip hop + vocabulary = happy students!

If you haven't tried Flocabulary yet, give it a look. I found "Flocab," as I call it, last year while looking for something more rigorous and interesting for fifth grade vocabulary. It's a subscription service, but my class loved it so much, we're going to use it again this year.

The Word Up! project is the vocabulary section. It is broken into grade levels 2-8, and each grade level has 14 units. Each unit has a hip hop song and video to introduce the words. Using the content clues to determine the meaning of our new vocabulary words became one of my students' favorite parts of the Monday routine! There are also activities and quizzes for each week, if you choose to use them.

Flocab is not just for generic vocabulary, though. There are also subject area videos for ELA, Math, Science, & Social Studies. (We LOVED the story elements song "Five Things.") We all know that putting something to music helps students remember it, and they love Flocab's hip hop songs!

Another feature I try to use every Friday during our morning meeting is the "Week in Rap" video that recaps news events. If you teach younger grades, you'll want to preview this before watching it in class. They report the news, and sometimes it isn't pretty. :(

You can preview some of the videos on YouTube to get an idea of how much your kids will enjoy doing vocabulary this way.


I made word wall cards this year for the fourth and fifth grade level words. Snag yours by clicking on the links below. They are pretty plain, but I did that to save on color ink, and I'm going to print them on colorful cardstock for my word wall. Enjoy!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It - "Where Are We" board

I've seen this idea all over Pinterest, and I had to make one for myself! Never again will the office staff roam frantically around the school wondering where I've taken my class!

I think it turned out SO cute!

Here's how to make your own:
  1. Hot glue ribbon around your dry erase board (this one is 16"x20")
  2. Print and laminate your labels. You can get the ones I made HERE in my TPT store FREE today and tomorrow only!
  3. Use double sided tape to stick your labels on your board. (I've learned the hard way that hot glue leaves a residue on dry erase boards.)
  4. Stick a magnet on your arrow.
Easy Peasy!

I think this also looks really cute on a cookie sheet or a pizza pan, but I like having the dry erase board so that I can always write with a marker if we go somewhere that's not on the board.