Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oriental Trading Neon Items

So, I am pretty sure every teacher knows about Oriental Trading...BUT if you don't...Where've you been!?  :) Just kidding! But seriously! You need to click HERE and go check it out! You'll find so many great things there that you can purchase in bulk for your class OR for your own personal themed parties, gift bags, etc. 

I was dying to change my classroom theme this year. I was using navy blue, pink, and teal before. I simply got bored of the calming tones and wanted something a bit more fun! I decided to change to neon because it allowed me to keep my teal and pink items! (Trying to save $$$). Oriental Trading has SO many items in SO many color themes! I was really excited about all of my findings! I had to contain myself and just order of a few of the many many things I wanted!

Below are my classroom supply bins! I love them! One: They are HUGE! They fit so much. Also, they are EASY TO CLEAN (WHATTT?! That never happens!) and really durable! How did I get so lucky!?

These are currently empty because it's the end of one week and I have not planned next week yet...oops; however, I use these bins to organize my copies/supplies needed for each day of the week. I get all planned on Friday afternoons and am ready for the next week. This also serves as a substitute area because everything needed for each day of the week is already all set up - a sub could easily come in and have everything he/she needs for the day at their fingertips! My students already know how I organize, so they would even be able to direct a sub to this location and everyone would be all set! 

I ordered some items I can use for my kiddos, as well! I mean...I was trying not to be selfish! I did okayyyyy on that front... 

I got pencils (you can't ever have enough pencils!) and erasers! The one set of erasers are regular pencil topper ones, and the other ones are in the shapes of animals (also pencil toppers). I love how many comes in one pack from Oriental Trading. I don't have to buy 8 packs just to have enough to last a while. One pack is what you see in each tin below!

Using the "Happy Birthday" balloon editable PDFs from Miss 5th, I created birthday presents for my students with the pencils from Oriental Trading. I have plenty of pencils leftover to use as other gifts. 

So sorry that this picture is so dark! I could not get the lighting to work with the window behind it! The ACHIEVE canvases I painted a few years ago. You can see the bins from Oriental Trading along the shelf in this picture, as well :) 

Other links:

Let me know if you have any questions! I am SO happy with my items from Oriental Trading! It kind of makes me want to change my theme every year! ....Is that too much?

Neon Bright Rainbow Classroom Decor

Woah...I have been more than MIA...
Where did August...September...and now October go? I mean, seriously. Where did they go? I don't understand how they are already gone!

Before I start getting into activities I have been doing with my kiddos, I figured I should welcome you into my classroom first! 

I will link to anything I have a link for throughout this post! :) A lot of the items I made for myself and also have available in my TpT store; however, a lot of the items are from Oriental Trading and I love them! 

This is the hub of our classroom. It is in the back of the room along the back wall. The rest of the room faces the opposite wall, where the projector and Promethean board are set up. This back whiteboard has our calendar, homework, standards we are working on, etc. In the picture above, it is nice and clean because I had just set it up! It is now full of information for the kids each day! I will post an updated pic in a later blogpost so you all can see what it looks like "in use". 

The chairs in the photo are 4 years old and still in perfect condition! I got them from Target :) 
The rugs are from Amazon, and were super cheap! I suggest searching whatever color rug you need on Amazon before looking elsewhere! I was super excited about these two I got. 

The links below are for some of the items you can find in my TpT store that you see in the photo above:

Below is a closer look at the calendar. I have used this for about 4 years now and I can't live without it anymore! I not only post things for myself to remember on here, but I post important things for the kids to remember, too! They love writing their birthdays on this big calendar. 

In the photo above you see some of the same parts of the room you see in the first photo, with the addition of my desk arrangement and a bit of other areas in the room.

The blue pocket chart is from Amazon and I use it for a homework turn in area. This way, I can quickly see who did not turn in their homework with one glance. 

I love my desks arranged this way, and have done it this way for about 6 years now. I have a hallway down the middle where my projector cart has to be wheeled back in order to display on the board. I use my Promethean ActivSlate a lot while I teach, so I can walk around and still write on the board at the same time. (If you don't have this nifty tool, you NEED it! It is my favorite thing EVER! It is a wireless pad and you use a stylus to write on it. Whatever you do on it works with the computer - so you can use it basically the same way you use a mouse). I like how I can be behind the students and see all of their whiteboards at the same time while we work. It allows me to quickly assess everyone during math really easily! 

Below you'll see the other direction of my classroom - the projector side! I have the Science version of the alphabet hanging over this side of the room. We also have our clipchart for behavior management (required by my school), the shelf for silent reading books, the "raise a number" classroom management system, and one of our bulletin board displays. The table full of books is really just a table used as work space now. I have the books there for the first week of school, before passing them out to the kids. 

The far bulletin board in the photo. My sister made this canvas for me as a gift. It says "Don't let anyone dull your sparkle". This bulletin board is super tall so this set up helps me to not have to change any items displayed at the top of the board. Call me lazy .... yes... hahaha! But you all know how frustrating it is to have to get a chair and a desk every time you change out your displays!

We are a Leader in Me school, so I titled this bulletin board with "Ready 2 Lead". This way, I can post pictures of the kids, student work samples, or vocabulary words and it still makes sense! No sense in making my life difficult! We are getting ready to lead no matter what we are doing! 

I love the little added touch of our hashtags at the bottom of each of my bulletin boards. They make me happy! (and remind my kids that I keep up with 'what's cool' these days!)

In the far area of the classroom, I have all of the old class pictures and photos from students posted. I love this display because it shows the kids that my previous students are important to me and they love adding their photos to this board, as well! 

Stay in touch for the next post! I will share the NEON items from Oriental Trading that I got to go with my classroom theme! The items from their site really helped me get organized, as well as have a few easy gifts ready for the kiddos! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Biotic and Abiotic Free Sorting Activity

I know sometimes when we search for freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers we are just looking for small, quick additions to our lessons. I don't want my freebies to ONLY be a 2 minute lesson for your students, I would like if you could really create something out of it with your students. So.... I decided to do that this past year with one of my favorite freebies!

The Abiotic and Biotic Ecosystems Sorting Activity has been a free item in my store for years; however, I never really speak about it much - this is because I only ever used it as a quick little sorting game. This year, I wanted to see if I could make it into something more, so I took on the challenge and I really like how it turned out!

To start, download the item for free by clicking HERE
(You can choose between printing it in color or in black and white)

First I introduce the terms ABIOTIC and BIOTIC to my students. We talk about it, and I do a little quick PowerPoint with them.

Then they each get a file folder. We open it to the inside and glue "abiotic" to one side and "biotic" to the other side. The students then cut out the different words and sort them where they think they should go - abiotic or biotic. We don't glue until we have all discussed our findings to make sure everyone in the class is fully understanding the terms.

Below is what their folder should look like at this point.

Who loves getting their class OUTSIDE for a little bit for a change? Here in Florida, it might be really hot, but we love love love getting to go outside - especially when we are LEARNING while doing it!

We next get into pairs (you can choose not to do this in partners if you'd rather them work alone or in larger groups, that is fine!) and go outside. We walk around and the kids write down abiotic or biotic things that they find in our ecosystem. Below is an example of some of the things you can find on our recess field at school. We come inside after about 15 minutes and discuss our findings. You might want to give the students a minimum amount of each that they need to find, this way they are sure not to go outside and get too distracted. We also like to add items that we did not think of when we hear what others come up with. This is a great way to keep all students active in the class discussion when we get inside.

Lastly, the final part of modeling their understanding is their cover drawing. I tell them what I would like their cover to say; however, they can do the writing however they choose. Some get a lot more creative than others.

I then tell them that a large part of their grade is their final picture on the cover. They must choose an ecosystem from a list I put on the board (I put a list up because at this point, we are just starting our ecosystem unit and they don't have as much prior knowledge yet). The example below represents a student who chose the "pond" ecosystem. They then must label at least 3 of each (abiotic and biotic, 6 total - at least) in their drawing. See the example below to see what the final product can look like! The student below just needs to add an arrow to her grass and she would have 3 biotic labeled, as well!!  #soclose

I hope this looks like something that would be useful for your class! These folders look super cute hung up in the classroom, and they are also useful down the road throughout your ecosystem unit. You could even limit their sorting to a T chart on one side of the folder on the inside, and save the rest of the folder for more activities done throughout the ecosystem unit! Oh the possibilities!!! ENJOY!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Word Problems Practice and Project

One of my favorite packs in my TpT store because the kids love it, it's easy for the teacher, and I can repeat it year after year without changing it much ... all kids need help with word problems!

I always hate how the textbooks teach word problems... 
They do a unit on "subtracting fractions" so when they kids take the unit test, they know they will SUBTRACT the FRACTIONS in the word problems.. UGH! This always drives me crazy because the students don't actually have to read for understanding on these assessments. 

I have noticed for a few years now that my students have always had trouble deciding what their first step is when they go into solving a word problem...that is why I created this pack! Here is a little peek into it!

The kids start by sorting the word problems into categories based on what they would do first to solve the word problem: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. This is a super fun activity for them because, for once, they are not required to SOLVE the problem! They are only required to decide what they would do IF they were going to solve it. This takes away so much of the unwanted pressure they feel when reading word problems. They find themselves successful with this activity, and then go into the rest of the week with more confidence.

Throughout the week, the skill level increases. 
They start with solving the one step word problems, and then the pack leads them into doing two step word problems. 

You can find out more about this inside of this pack at my previous blog post, here:

At the end of the pack, the students will create a two step word problem and use that problem to create a cute project for the classroom! 
(Show below)

Get this pack HERE on TpT :) 
Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Math Activity Item Updates!

I am so excited about these updates! 

Every once in a while you need a craftivity in math, right!? I know I always need a little break from pure content to do something that is content - related...with a bit of fun! 

If you already own these items, just go to TpT to redownload the new version! You don't have to purchase it again! :) Yay!

You can purchase the bundle of all of the math activities together, or you can purchase the activities separately, as needed :) The table of contents below goes through all of the items in the bundle (all are also available separately).

1. Factor Tree Craftivity

In the Factor Tree Craftivity, students will use given numbers they cut out to color and create their own factor tree, also giving the prime factorization. This could make a really fun center, which is something I really like about this project! I used this at a center in my class for a week. The students worked on it for about 10-15 minutes per day that week. I was able to collect it at the end of the week, giving me a quick and easy assessment of their prime factorization, and a really cute craft to bring home for their parents!

Colored sample of the tree the students will create:

2. Place Value Find Me!

This is one of my favorites! I use this every year, guaranteed! 

This activity is very similar to what you would normally see labeled as a "write the room" activity. I did not want to call it that, because you can also simply sit the cards at a center so that the kids can fill out their answers there, rather than walking around the room. 

To complete this activity, students simply follow the place value clues given on their card to create a number (putting all of the numbers in their correct place value locations will create the overall, larger number = the answer). Students put their answer on the line next to the animal that matches the animal on the clue card...and that's it!! Gotta make sure the kids know which place is which, right!?

A close up view of a few of the cards that come in this pack
(also given in black and white):

3. Metric Conversion Craftivity and Useful Tool!

Hm...I might have lied before when I said Place Value Find Me! was my favorite....this one might take the cake! 

You have probably all heard of or taught something the same as, or similar to, King Henry Died Unusually Drinking Chocolate Milk when you teach the metric system and its conversions. 

The kids love creating this cute little caterpillar in class, and then using it to help them with their conversions. Eventually, students are able to draw the caterpillar on their own and they don't require the actual craft anymore - but it's a great way to get them started and commit the idea to memory before having them do it on their own. 

Preview of the final product: 

4. Multiplication Memory Game

This one is just fun! :) It is just like it sounds - a multiplication memory game! Match the multiplication expression to its product and that's it! 

Have your students keep their matches on their record sheet to make sure they are being held accountable for what they are doing while they play the game. They even keep track of their partner's matches. 

Record sheet shown below:

5. Math-O!

This is a pack of 4 types of math BINGO! Multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction are all included! I love this game at the beginning of the year because I encourage the kids to practice their mental math with these simple expressions. 

If you are interested in four of the five of these activities, make sure you just purchase the bundle because it will save you money! :) Let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Self Assessing Bulletin Board

I have had a lot of e-mails and Instagram messages recently regarding my post showing my bulletin board. 

Most of you were inquiring about the emoji self assessment part of the board, so I will DEFINITELY discuss that. First, I am just going to give you links to all of the things you see, just in case that is all you want :) 

1) Math Alphabet - above the board

2) Subject and headers - rectangle label cards

3) Emoji Self Assessment PDF

The explanation of how it works:

This was not something I thought up completely on my own - we were asked to display this sort of data in rubric form on our boards by our district and their new Learning Goals and Scales initiative. At first, I was not a fan.... another thing to do, right!? However, I have seen it work in my classroom, so when you all asked me about it, I knew I had to share it! The best part is, I made it a FREEBIE! :) Yay!

So, let's take a look at the photo again. This time, just looking at the emoji posters on the left (1, 2, 3, and 4 cards) and then the emoji rubric grid on the main part of the board.

As you can see, the 1, 2, 3, 4 cards on the left are just the explanations of the rubric. Many of us already have these in our classrooms in different forms or wording. Our district has chosen not to use the level 0 at all, so we start at a 1 and end at a 4. 

Under the "subject" column, I simply have the printable cards of each subject I teach (I teach all but Science). 

Under the "Standards and Learning Goals" column, I have the goals/standards written out. My students know that on my scale, this would be our level 3 - our goal. If they feel that they have met our goal, then they are a level 3 and that is where they would move their little number card. 

Under the first emoji you will see all of their number cards. I cut 1 inch by 1 inch cardstock cards and the kids simply colored their card with their number on it. I stuck mini sticky magnets I got from Amazon on there, and DONE! Easy as pie! (I did NOT laminate the cardstock because it would make it less likely that it would stick to the adhesive on the magnets - paper sticks better). 

Before each lesson, we discuss yesterdays goal versus todays goal. For reading, the goal stays the same for days at a time sometimes; however, for math, it changes almost daily. We discuss how we will use these skills in real life and why they are important. We then begin the lesson. Throughout the lessons we do little "temperature checks" where I do some sort of quick assessment to see where my kids are in the lesson. This sometimes is simply visual (on their whiteboards), but it can also be a few multiple choice questions using a program like Plickers (if you don't know this program, you MUST go check it out!).

We move our numbers throughout the lesson sometimes, and sometimes we just wait until the end when we change to our next subject. The kids know they may never reach a 4 for a certain skill because I sometimes am not able to assign tasks that bring them to a level four. Sometimes they get level four tasks for homework. Making the idea that a level 3 is right where you want them is very important with this idea. Another important thing is that your classroom environment allows for students to feel comfortable placing themselves at the appropriate level (for example, not to be embarrassed to admit they are a level 1 or 2). This works great in my room, but sometimes it is a big shaky when we start using the scale at the beginning of the year before everyone is comfortable. 

Let me know if you have any other questions! I hope you find this useful!! ;) 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Poetry with Emotion

First thing first - I have not blogged in for....ev...errrrr!!! 
I have gone completely off the map this year! I feel like this year has not only FLOWN by me, but has been more difficult than ever! Why is this? I don't know why I feel like I have spent this year recreating the wheel for no reason...making things a lot harder for myself than I need to. Anyone else having this problem?

We recently had our "big" state writing test. We had been writing non-stop for weeks to prepare for this, so the kids (and the teachers!) were exhausted! As you all know, we can't stop teaching because there is just so much content to teach in one year, but we wanted to give our kids a little brain break to show our appreciation to them for all of their hard work!

We decided to figure out a way to turn a popular movie that all of our kids knew into a lesson idea! 

The movie: "Inside Out"

The standard:
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

The end result: 

The game plan:
Discuss the movie, the 5 moods/emotions in the movie, and different examples given in the movie when that specific emotion is shown.
(Those of you who have not seen Inside Out, there are 5 emotions presented in the movie: fear, disgust, anger, sadness, and joy. Each emotion is represented by its own character. These characters are 'inside' of a little girl's brain throughout the movie. They show how the emotions all work together inside of our brain and affect the way that we feel or act)

After discussing the above, have the students choose one of the emotions/characters they want to focus on. We are going to write poetry that gives our reader that specific emotion you chose.

Display this poem as an example of a poem that makes us feel sad:
As you can see, the poem does not say "sad", but it is still able to make you feel "sadness". How does the poem do this? Discuss this with the students.

Give each student a paper plate and display the characters from the movie on the board so they can see how they look. The students create a mask using the paper plate and coloring supplies. 

I told my students that during the time they were making their mask, they are able to think about words that would be useful in their poem. Certain words can give us feeling without directly stating the feeling/emotion. My students had out a sheet of paper on their desk to jot down words that came to mind while they were coloring their masks.

When their masks are complete, they write their poem. I gave them an 8 line minimum, but no other rules for rhyming, etc. I was giving them more creative freedom simply because this was supposed to be a mental brain break activity after testing. You may choose to give them more guidelines if you are using this as a more strictly standard based assignment. 

I was really excited about our end result! The bulletin board came out super cute! I forgot to snap a photo of it, but I will try to remember and add it to this post soon!