Saturday, March 11, 2017

Scholastic Printables

Happy Weekend! I am so excited to be working with Scholastic Printables to share with you about their amazing online resources website. They contacted me and asked me to give them a try, and I am so happy to share about their wonderful resources with others! Stay tuned to the end of the post because I have a surprise for you!

Scholastic Printables give you instant, unlimited access to thousands of skills sheets, activities, lesson plans and more. The best part? These classroom resources are created by teachers and vetted by your trusted friends at Scholastic so you know that the activities and information being shared is top notch! 

Their website is so much more than just worksheets, and I have had the best time exploring the site and finding all of the fabulous tools embedded in their program. Scholastic saves me time and money, and I know that I can browse through their resources with confidence. Want to give it a try? You have access to a free trial just by clicking here.

One of my personal favorite features about the site are the reading passages! We are always on the hunt for text that helps engage our learners in the classroom. Scholastic Printables has a lot of content-ready reading passages and paired activities that are easy to access and use. 

Want so see exactly what you can find on the website? Here are some samples!

  • Reading Umbrella Graphic Organizer (PreK-3)
Encourage students to explore many different types of text by recording each student’s reading on this fun graphic organizer.

                Here is a direct link to try out the freebie. 

  • Make a Rain Gauge! (K-3)
Have your students make a rain gauge to measure daily rainfall with this template and easy-to-follow instructions. 

              Here is a  direct link to the rain gauge freebie. 

  • Quilt a Card: Spring Art Project (Gr 1-3)
This fun-to-make paper project is a creative addition to a unit on American arts and crafts or a great way to target early learning concepts of patterns and symmetry.

           Here is a direct link  to try out the freebie.

  • Spring Activities: Teaching With the Best of Instructor (Gr 1-4)
Nine great classroom-tested seasonal activity ideas, from Crop Circle Geometry to Under a Rock nature journals, to target key math concepts, spark writing, and build observation skills.

You can catch Scholastic Printables on Social Media for the latest information:
Official Links + Social Media
Visit the Scholastic Printables official website.
Follow Scholastic Teachers on Twitter and Facebook
Follow Scholastic on Instagram
Hashtag #ScholasticPrintables

Ready for the amazing news? Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win a free year of Scholastic Printables!!!!!! 

I received a Scholastic Printables subscription in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own! :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Jungle Themed Read-A-Thon

Last week, our fifth grade classes ended Read Across America week with an all day read-a-thon. Each classroom was transformed into a different theme. We had a beach room, space room, camping room, and jungle room. 

Our classroom got a jungle makeover, so I wanted to share a few pictures with you and some quick tips on how you can transform your room on a budget! 

First tip--use plastic tablecloths! I trimmed my room in half for this quick transformation and used thumbtacks and green table cloth to make the "jungle walls". I love using table cloth for projects like this because you can get them in a variety of colors, they are cheap, and they are easy to work with!

I did grab this fun tree from Hobby Lobby and a few smaller trees to help add some jungle decor. The floor is made with colored butcher and packaging paper. 

We moved all of our classroom lamps and plants over to the jungle side of the room. I also played jungle/rainforest music from Amazon all day. The sounds really helped pull everything together!

Our amazing librarian loaned us her camping lamps and students used head lamps for reading. We do a lot of "flashlight and glow in the dark" reading time so I have been collecting these $1 head lamps from Wal-Mart over the years. 

 Normally, I would have cut out a hole in the tablecloth for our SmartBoard but it was way too bright for the room this time. Keeping the tablecloth on top calmed down the light and still allowed us to display our jungle scenery. 

Since it was a read-a-thon, the students had a lot of time in each room to read to themselves or with partners. The teachers also had themed read-alouds that they shared with each class. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is one of my favorites and paired perfectly with our jungle theme. This picture book is a great resource if you are looking for a book to teach main idea and key details as well as cause and effect. 

It was, hands down, one of our favorite days this school year! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

French Lick Spring Teacher/Blogger Retreat-Session Details

Wow! We are so excited that our retreat is just a little over a month away. We cannot wait to see everyone and have an amazing time together. 

This year, we will be changing our round table/workshop session slightly so that we can best accommodate all of the amazing educators that will be there. Here are the details for our new session format!

Round Tables/ Poster Sessions-
We will be turning our round table sessions into "poster sessions" this year. A poster session is a multi-booth/table environment where attendees have the chance to engage with the teacher presenters one on one or in small groupsPoster sessions allow the teachers presenters the opportunity to create a space and session that is centered around the topic or idea that they are sharing. During this time, attendees are welcome to stop and talk with any poster session that pique's their interest. Some poster sessions are more like Q&A, some are listening to a brief presentation, and some are a blend of the two. 

For example, if a teacher presenter is sharing a session on guided reading, he/she may bring her guided reading tool box. The teacher presenter will be sharing what is in his/her tool box with those who walk up to that poster session. Hands-on materials, pictures, trifold presentation displays, and laptops are just a few of the amazing components of a poster session. 

Teachers will have 5, 10 minute rotations to roam the room and drop in on sessions that interest them. You are free to leave one poster and move on to another within the 10 minute time frames. You are not required to stay at one poster for the entire 10 minutes. 

Here is a sneak peak at some of the amazing poster session topics that we will be offering at the retreat!

Flexible Seating
Donor's Choose
PowerPoint Basics
Blogging Basics
Classroom Management
Getting Started with Teachers Pay Teachers
Integrating Technology
Small Group Reading Instruction
And...much more!!!!

And, if you have not signed up for the retreat yet then here is the information!

Here are the details...
WHO:  YOU are invited!
WHAT:  Spring Blogger/Follower Retreat!
WHEN: March 17, 18 & 19, 2017
WHERE:  French Lick Resort & Casino - French Lick, IN
WHY:   To meet new friends, share blogging & TPT tricks & tips, 
and just have fun! {LOTS and LOTS of FUN!}

Join us for the whole weekend, or just a day!
Here is a peek at some of the things we have planned…
Friday, March 17th
·       OPTIONAL:  Many attendees gather and socialize at the beautiful West Baden Hotel.  Come early and join us!  

Saturday, March 18th
·    Blogger Meet-Up Luncheon:  Get-to-know-you luncheon, teacher product giveaways, and “Teacher Tool” gift swap game

· Keynote Speaker:  None other than PRINCIPAL GERRY will be there to uplift, inspire, and create a room full of laughter

·    Teaching, TPT, Blogging Round-table and Workshop Sessions:  We will send out a survey asking for topics of interest and we invite you to submit a round-table proposal as well.  

Dinner Reservations at Resort Restaurant/s:  (OPTIONAL) Meet up for dinner at one of the resort’s casual, but classy restaurants. 

 Saturday Night Social Event:  Since everyone who is a teacher knows they went into this profession for the fame and fortune (ya, right!!)……We will be rolling out the red carpet for you as we invite you to dress up as your favorite star, pose for the paparazzi, and fabulous fun with friends!  (Heavy hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, photo booth pictures and party favors included.  There will also be a cash bar.)

Sunday, March 19th
·    Sunday Breakfast/Brunch:  (OPTIONAL) Meet at the resort’s famous breakfast buffet for our last gathering of good food, good conversation, and goodbyes!

The cost for attending this event is $75, which includes your lunch and beverages, a portion of the event room fees and our Saturday night social event (including food and non-alcoholic drinks).  This is the ONLY required fee for the entire weekend!  The rest of the event (hotel fees, if you choose to stay on site, and the remainder of the meal fees will be on your own, based on your choices!).  If you live close, you may choose to drive in for the day.  This fee needs to be paid by Feb.12 to guarantee your registration.  Also, note that due to the increasing popularity of this event, registration may have to be limited due to size.  (More details for payment will be posted on our private FB meet-up/retreat group page.)

 You can read more about it here as well. Registration closes this Sunday( February 12th)!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Student-Led Morning Meeting

5th Grade Morning Meeting

In our 5th grade classroom, we always start our day with a morning meeting. The meeting format changes as we grow as a class, but there are some aspects of our meeting that remain the same. I have often been asked about our morning meeting formats so I thought I would highlight some of our favorite parts of our meeting time together. 

Good Morning 
Yes, this may seem small but you would be surprised how many of us don't say "Good Morning" to our kiddos! Every morning we start off our time together by shouting "Good Morning!" to each other with big smiles! It is a great way to start our day with a positive vibe. 

We use the Class Slides with Timers TPT file from Teach Create Motivate to help us stay on track with our morning meeting. Here are just a few of the slides that we use. You can check out her product here if you are interested!

Our Class Goals
One of our students starts with the reading of our class goals. You can read more about them here. As he/she reads the goals, the rest of the class joins in. We are working on adding movements and signs to our goals right now to help continue to keep things engaging!

Share Time
Circle/Share time is for big kids, too! We spend a solid 5-10 minutes every morning just sharing things that are going on in our lives with one another. Sometimes we hear sad stories about the passing of a child's pet hamster, sometimes students tell jokes, other times students share something that they made at home such as a photo album. Last week, I shared a photo on my Instagram page about one of our sweet kiddos sharing a sonogram of her baby sister. Her mom has been battling health complications during this pregnancy, so she is staying hours away at a hospital to be monitored. Providing the student the opportunity to share and talk about it with the class was healing for her, and I was so proud of the class as they supported her.

Read Aloud
Reading aloud as a class is one of my non-negiotables (along with giving kiddos silent reading time every day). I will give up other things before I give up reading aloud with them. One way to help us make sure that we have time for our read aloud is by putting it at the end of our morning meeting. It is a great way for us to come together, relax, bond, and fall in love with a story.

At the end of our morning meeting, we head to specials. We have recently started saying a chant/call and respond as we go out the door to help us keep our positive vibe going! I say, "Today is going to be a..." and the students respond with "GREAT DAY!". 

We love morning meetings. We spend about 20-25ish minutes together in our meeting, and we are relationship building all the way through. It is structured yet relaxed. The students lead as much of the morning meeting as possible, and I love starting our day out this way together!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Setting Classroom New Year Goals

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017! Here's to a fresh start, new beginnings and updated goals! Goals...that is where today's quick post comes in. 

Every year, I like to spend the first day back from break checking in with the students and resetting our focus as a classroom and as individuals. 

What are goals?
What are OUR goals?
What is important to us?
How are these goals going to help us be successful?
Why will these goals help us climb to success?

I use this activity as a springboard to the kickoff of the second half of our year for a couple of reasons. 
1. Students are more focused. 
2. Students better understand what they need and how to accomplish that. 
3. Classroom community is stronger and there is more support. 

Today, both of our classes brainstormed a list of things that they wanted to focus on for the remainder of the school year. They thought about what they wanted to accomplish as a class and as individuals and then they chose what traits they could apply to help them met these goals. The words in BLUE are the traits and characteristics that they listed. The rest is how we brought our goals together. 

How does this truly help us? We refer to this often. 
1. It is displayed in our classroom for all to see. 
2. We read it together EVERY day in our morning/afternoon meetings. 
3. We adjust it as needed. We know that it is a living, working document that can get changed as we need it to. 

The conversation, communication, and support is KEY to this, and I love watching our conversations and positive actions shape lives!

What are your classroom goals?