Monday, July 25, 2016

Made It Monday 7*25*16

I've enjoyed linking up on #mondaymadeit every Monday. It's actually motivated me to keep creating this summer. Sure I've been relaxing and spending time with family and friends but I've also made "my down time my prep time." 

Last week I blogged and shared about my completed Brag Tags, this week I'm focusing on the welcome gifts for my students. I always have a gift waiting for them at open house, it makes me happy to see their little faces light up when they see their treats. This year I'm giving them water bottles. Now I could have driven around to every Dollar Tree within a 20 mile radius but who has time for that! So I ordered them from the Dollar Tree website. You can purchase in bulk on their site, so I purchased a case of 24 water bottles and then went to one Dollar Tree and purchased two additional ones just in case I end up with more than 24 students. With 8 sections of 3rd grade this year, I'm praying for smaller class sizes! 
Now I did have to drive around to 5 different Wal-Marts to get the Scentos party favors, it literally took me weeks to find pencils, stickers, mini pens and bracelets.
I stuffed the bottles with white shredded paper from the craft store and then put a sheet of stickers, a mini pen, a pencil and bracelet in the bottle, then I tied a gift tag to them. Viola... student welcome gifts complete. These will be waiting on the students desk when they meet me at Open House, the Friday before school begins.

I also blogged about the 7 Habits of Happy Kids Parent Flyers I made last week, if you do this program in you classroom you should check them out.

Looking for more Monday Made It Ideas? Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

7 Habits of Happy Kids Flyers

A couple of years ago I decided to implement the 7 Habits of Happy Kids in my classroom. I've blogged and shared a few ideas before. I also have a Pinterest board full of activities and book suggestions.
I wanted the parents to know more about the habits and I wanted them to be able to reinforce them at home. I created these weekly sheets to send home. I'll only send them home the first 7 weeks I'm teaching about the habit, one flyer for each habit.
In the beginning of the school year, starting around the 2nd or 3rd week of school, I start teaching about the habits during morning meeting. We read a chapter in the 7 Habits of Happy Kids book, make an anchor chart of characteristics and discuss how we can use them at home and school. This year I'll I award Brag Tags to students I catch using one of the habits.
Click Here if you'd like a copy to use in your very own classroom!  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Made It Monday 7*18*16

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Brag Tags and how I wanted to implement them in my classroom this year. Well I've finally finished my friends brag tags and I've completed my own as well. Side note...after a year and a half of my color laser printer telling me that I needed to replace the toner and wouldn't print, I googled "toner override," reset each cartridge and was able to print 250+ sheets and the color is still coming out great! I didn't have to spend $175 on new toner cartridges and I didn't have to give Office Max $50 to print out all my brag tags. #lifehack #winning

After I did my research I sat down and thought of the categories from which my students would earn brag tags.
  • Accelerated Reader- this year my students will earn a brag time when they earn 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 200 AR points.
  • 7 Habits of Happy Kids- my students will earn brag tags when I catch them utilizing one of their 7 habits.
  • Life Skills- my students will earn brag tags when I see them practicing a life skill I've taught them.
  • Academic- my students will earn Multiplication Fact brag tags when they master a set of facts. I also created some general brag tags for the other subjects.
  • Homework- for each month that students turn in all their homework, they'll get a brag tag that says "September Homework Club" and so on.
  • Holidays- my students won't earn brag tags for every holiday but I spotlighted some such as Constitution Day, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day... we learn about these in Social Studies. I also decided not to purchase any tags from the website (trying to save money) and made some special ones such as 100th Day and Dr. Seuss Day.
  • Rules- students can earn brag tags when I catch them following classroom and school rules.
  • Super Improvers- every student will get their "beginner" tag on the first day of school. Once they get their 10 stickers on their card on the Super Improver Wall, I'll give them their Learner tag and so on.
  • Go Noodle- every time our Go Noodle Champ maxes out, I'll give them the champ brag tag.
  • Other- I created other brag tags such as Honor Roll, Role Model Behavior and other character related traits.
So far I've printed all my tags but only laminated and cut out about 16 sets... I have about 92 more sets to go before Labor Day! I'll store them in the containers I purchased from Michaels. I bought 7 but will only need 6. I also cut the top off of them because of course it wouldn't close with the tags sticking out. I'm debating if I will spray paint it or embellish it somehow.

They turned out super cute and can't wait to implement them in my classroom next year. And guess what... I'm sharing them! Click Here to take you to the google drive where I have them housed. Feel free to use them for your personal, classroom and school use only. If you need something that I don't have or need a particular theme, shoot me an email or leave a comment and I may be able to make it for you.

Now I need to punch holes in all these brag tags I've already completed. I purchased an 1/8 hole punch from Michael's with a 50% off coupon. I also ordered my necklaces from Amazon. Since I had two Essential Oil Diffusers I wanted to buy I bundled everything for free shipping, without that I think shipping was about $6-$7 in addition to the $16.99 cost.

Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Made It Monday ideas!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Made it Monday 7*11*16

Another Monday... another idea... we're just getting back in town from being in Havelock, NC for my husband's family reunion, I'm exhausted... that North Carolina heat is oppressive...I'm keeping it simple this week.
Road trippin' with husband...
Teach.Create.Motivate. Hydration Station
While exploring on Pinterest I ran across this pin and thought it was a great idea, a hydration station in the classroom! Why hadn't I thought of that? I allow my students to pretty much eat and drink whenever they want during the day but those nasty water bottle spills irk all my nerves! I have a pretty long counter space and have decided that the space next to my sink will now be our new Hydration Station. Students will house their water bottles in this space to free up space on their desk and avoid liquid disasters! Click the picture below if you'd like a copy for your classroom.

Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Made It Monday ideas!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Made It Monday 7*4*16

For the past week I've been researching Brag Tags on Pinterest. One of my best friends teaches 1st grade at my school and she was sharing how she wanted to start Brag Tags in her classroom next year. She was going to purchase them but I told her that I could just make them for her. While reading up on them I decided that they were an awesome idea and that I'd love to implement them with my 3rd graders next year.

Basically Brag Tags are little badges that students earn throughout the school year. Brag tags can be academic, or character related. The following blog posts helped me understand them a little better.
Angie from Lucky Little Learners has a great FAQ's about them. This post answers any questions you might have about them. She also sells her Brag Tags on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Aimee from Primarily Speaking also has a blog post on Tips and Tricks for using Brag Tags in your classroom. You can check out her Brag Tags on Teachers Pay Teachers as well.
Jamie from Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher has a wonderful blog post as well. You can check her Brag Tags on Teachers Pay Teachers too.
Sample Brag Tags I'm Creating
So after all my research I think I've wrapped my brain around how I intend to implement them in my classroom. I've answered some questions below.
Super Improver Brag Tags I'm Creating
  • Where will I get the brag tags? I'm in the process of making my own. There are some great ones on TpT, but I have hundreds of dollars worth of clip art and I really need to use it! School also has some you can purchase. I intend to purchase some special brag tags from them such as Happy Birthday, 100 Days Smarter, Honor Roll, Read Across America.
  • How will I make my brag tags? I started making them in PowerPoint, basically copying and pasting each design into a template I made. Then I discovered this YouTube Video by Diane from 5th in the Middle and learned there was a much easier way to do it!
  • Where will I get the necklaces? I'm going to get mine from School The 24 inch Ball Chain will work perfectly for my students.  
  • How will I store my brag tags? I'm going with the storage I saw on the Primarily Speaking blog post. I found the compartment organizers at Michael's for 50% off last week. That made them $1.49 a piece and I purchased 7 of them... enough to store the hundred+ brag tags I'm making.
  • How will I display them? I'm thinking of using the bulletin board to hang them on. Every student will be able to wear them on Fridays. I'm debating if I will allow them to wear them any day they earn a badge. I'm also thinking I'll let students wear their brag tags to lunch if they have a family member coming to eat with them.
  • Will students take them home? They will only go home on the last day of school. They will be stored in the classroom all year and free for parents to see during back to school night, conference time, classroom parties or anytime they're in the building.
  • How will students earn tags? That question will be answered in a future post! Check back soon...
Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Made It Monday ideas!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Made It Monday 6*27*16

Well I didn't "make" this but I did update it. A couple of years ago I started drafting long range plans. Something that keeps me on pace and looking at the big picture. Around this time every year I finish my plans.  
Math- My pacing in math is closely aligned with our county math pacing guide. One thing that I do differently is that instead of teaching multiplication in two weeks, I spread it over several months. We spend 3 days on each fact. *Day 1-Intro Strategy, Practice Page *Day 2- Partner Dice Game, Flash Cards *Day 3- Fact Assessment. So I spend the first 20 minutes covering the fact and the next 40 minutes teaching the other math concept we're learning.
Content~Science and Social Studies- This year we were told by our administration that we could no longer alternate teaching Science and Social Studies... meaning a two week unit on Map Skills and then doing a two week unit on Animals. We have to now teach it concurrently. So we alternate every other day. One day science, one day social studies, next day science and so on. I sat down and mapped out the entire year, by day. This was necessary because I didn't want a science and social studies assessment to fall in the same week. 
Shared Reading- I really struggle with shared reading. Since being in third grade I really haven't been able to really plan and execute lessons I thought were meaningful. But my students seem to do well on the state test so I guess something is better nothing. So for the 6th year in a row, I am once again changing how I teach it. I'll start off the year with a unit on Reading Strategies and Skills, as well as Genres. Then I'll switch to a format that looks like this...
  • Monday- Time for Kids Magazine Lesson
  • Tuesday- Time for Kids Magazine Lesson Day 2
  • Wednesday- Fiction Book Lesson (titles located in plans)
  • Thursday- Fiction Book Lesson Day 2
  • Friday- Review of weekly Mountain Language Sheet, Cold Reads, Standardized Test Prep
The fiction books and strategies listed in my long range plans are from Amy Lemon's Rooted in Reading Series. It's very comprehensive but I'll only be using the grammar lessons and some of the comprehension lessons.
Word Study- This year I did something different thanks to my team BFF. Instead of 2 or 3 word study groups I had 5. The Monday Group, Tuesday Group, Wednesday Group... you get the picture. I only met with one word study group a day and all students were on a 6 day cycle. If I introduced the sort to the Monday group, they would take their test next Monday. So it took 2 weeks to introduce and assess all five groups. The Thursday Group's 6 day cycle looked like this:
  • Day 1 (Thursday)- Sort Introduction with teacher, highlight features on word cards.
  • Day 2 (Friday)- Cut words out, sort, record in Word Study Journal
  • Day 3 (Monday)- Sort, record in Word Study Journal
  • Day 4 (Tuesday)- Sort, record, word hunt (searching for words in literature that have the same spelling feature)
  • Day 5 (Wednesday) Sort, glue
  • Day 6 (Thursday)- Word Study assessment with teacher. 
Writing- Like I said earlier the grammar lessons I choose came from the Rooted in Reading Series. I'll spend one day a week focusing on that grammar concept and the other days will be a writing workshop format. I used my county's expectations along with our standards to choose what kind of writing we'd be doing that week.

If you like the template I used, you can download it from
Ginger Snaps, I've used it for years now and I love it!

Hop on over to 4th Grade Frolics for more Made It Monday ideas!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Made It Monday 6*20*16

I use Nickey's Folders for my parent communication folder. They come in a variety of colors but I'm partial to the black folder... they all have a clear sleeve for a folder insert. On the inside they have printed words, Left- Return to School, Right- Leave at Home.
 This was my SMORE Folder last year. I wanted to redesign the insert for this year.
#1 was my design for last year and I debated and got feedback for next year's design and finally settled on #4 with some subtle changes.
 Stop by 4th Grade Frolics for more Made It Monday ideas!