Monday, September 28, 2015

Class Dojo FREEBIE

Happy Monday, everyone!

It's the fourth week of school for me and I'm still feeling drained after a Monday.  I know that's typical for every Monday.  I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the DRA tunnel.  Phew!  If your district uses the DRA you know what I'm feeling.  I have two classes this year totaling 35 students.  That's a lot of DRAs, people!  I have finished up one class and am nearing the end with the other.  As exhausting as administering this many DRAs is, I love doing it because I get to know my readers so well at the beginning of the year.

Wow... squirrel moment!  I did NOT start this blog post to talk about DRAs. haha.  I did want to tell you about my Class Dojo Brag Tags! Half of my homeroom glass has entered the 50 point club.  WOOHOO!  Today I welcomed my first member of the 100 point club!  We're on fire, y'all!  My kids are loving earning their Class Dojo Brag Tags and joining a point club.  My friends who haven't entered a club yet are soooooo close and are extremely motivated to join their friends.  My brag tags, which you can find in my TpT store for FREE, come in increments of 50 points all the way up to 1,000!  I was so delighted to see this product has been downloaded over 300 times. :) Makes my heart smile thinking students in classrooms everywhere are earning Dojo brag tags.

However, after receiving a request for an editable template, it occurred to me that not everyone uses Class Dojo the same way.  Hello!!!! Duh!  So, by request, I have created an EDITABLE Class Dojo Brag Tags product so you can just type in the point values that best suit your needs.

Enjoy, y'all!  Get your Dojo on!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

1st Week of School

Hey y'all!

Phew!  I forgot just how TIRING the first week back to school is.  I'll tell you what though, I'm definitely not as tired this year as I have been in years past.  I'm still trying to figure out why that is.  Is it because I have 3rd graders now, the oldest age group I've had so far?  Is it because I was able to get into my classroom throughout the summer and decorate/set up/organize so I wasn't rushing to do it all to my liking during my last two weeks of summer?  Or is it because I am only teaching Language Arts this year?  I don't know.  I'll reevaluate next week and see if my level of exhaustion plummets.  Though I'm not fighting to stay up until an acceptable hour, I am still tired.  Therefore, this is going to be a QUICK blog post!

I just wanted to share with you a little bit about my first week back with kiddos.  As you know, the first week is FULL of teaching rules and procedures, paperwork coming out of the wood works, learning a new schedule, and oh yeah... some instruction.  I definitely haven't gotten to everything I had planned, but I'd rather be over prepared rather than standing there like a fool staring at my kids.  Below you will find a short list of books that I have managed to get in this week.  Some I have used before and some are brand new ones I purchased this year and am IN LOVE!

The illustrations in Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker are absolutely adorable.  I was nervous my 3rd graders might not enjoy this one, but they LOVED it.  Now when someone becomes too chatty they are referred to as Lacey Walker. haha.  Love it!

This one is an oldie, but such a goodie.  I brought in my personal copy that my mother purchased for me when I was a child.  I love reading books that I have owned for years to my students.  The sweet message in this story really pulls on my heart strings every single time. 

Of course... Do Unto Otters... I feel like everyone reads this book.  Surprisingly enough, most of my students had never heard of it before.  Laurie Keller is amazing!  I love so many of her other popular titles as well.  The puns in this book have me giggling every time. Too cute!

I purchased this book when I was at college and working an elementary school book fair.  I'm a Kappa Kappa Gamma and our animal is an owl so naturally... I had to have it.  This is a PERFECT book to read at the beginning of the year because it makes great conversation about diversity.  

I LOVE Andrew Clements!  When I was a kid, one of my favorite chapter books was Frindle.  I'm pretty sure my mom bought me almost every Andrew Clements book.  A few years ago, while subbing, a 3rd grade teacher had this book in her lesson plans as a daily read aloud.  I fell in love and thought it was perfect for the beginning of the year.  

I saw this book in Barnes & Noble a few times and couldn't help myself from flipping through to look at the pictures every time.  I didn't even read it because of how precious the illustrations were.  I decided to buy it this year and read it to my class.  I LOVED the adorable story of Beekle and his human.  It really sparked up some great conversation with my gifted cluster class. 

In addition to reading these fabulous books I introduced/went over expectations for Read to Self.  I had plans to start Work on Writing as well, but we all know how overwhelming the first week can be. I'm hoping tomorrow we can get the ball rolling.  I was beyond amazed with how well my classes have done with building their stamina in just two days.  Now I know The Daily 5 book suggests starting small with 3 minutes, but I figured I would let them go for as long as they could until I could see they started to get antsy and stare off into La-La Land.  I couldn't believe my gifted cluster class lasted 16 minutes on the first try.  That is 16 minutes of engaged reading, no movement, no talking... JUST READING!  I thought, NO WAY that can be possible.  But once I stopped them, I had several students rushing up to me to share the books they fell in love with.  Wow!  My general ed class struggled through 6 minutes on the first day which was more what I expected.  However, once they saw the switch class's stamina time, they were determined.  I swear, I started at them, moving my eyes all about the room WAITING for SOMEONE to become off task and look like they were faking it.  Either these kids are fabulous actors and actresses or they were really motivated.  I was so proud of their 10 minute stamina gain to 16 minutes.  I'm telling you... hold kids to a high standard and they will at least attempt to rise to them.  

Well... that's it from me for now.  This teacher is going to BED before my first Friday of the school year.  Hallelujah! Before you exit out, make sure to download this freebie!  I had some Instagram followers ask about my Stamina Chart I had posted on my wall.  I tried blowing it up onto 11x17 at our Teacher Production Center, but was stressed out by the overwhelming amount of people there so I settled for a regular sheet of paper.  No biggie because it's still SUPER cute... if I do say so myself. 

Thanks for stopping by, y'all! TGIF!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

#2getherwearebetter September Linky- CLASSROOM REVEAL

Hi friends!  I am SO EXCITED for today!  I have been waiting for weeks now to share my classroom with y'all.

If you have been following my [hardly updated- sorry!] blog or my Instagram posts, you know I have moved buildings [again] and moved up to 3rd grade.  I have been so fortunate to be able to get into my school throughout the summer to set up little by little.  This has taken a LOT of stress of my back to school load and I have been able to travel to my last two schools to assist my besties in setting up their classrooms.  I know they think I'm slightly insane for wanting to set up three different classrooms in two different buildings, but I just LOVE it.  

Okay.  Before I get started showing you my classroom I want to share some things with you about my school.  My building is pretty old.  I have almost ZERO built in storage so I have tried to get "creative" with hiding storage containers and such.  I am BEYOND thankful to be team teaching this year so I will only teaching language arts.  I still have to house all of the math manipulatives our district supplies us with (which takes up about large boxes) so that has been challenging in my classroom with minimal storage.  Lastly, because I am only teaching language arts you will not see ANYTHING on my walls unless it is related to ELA.  

PHEW!  Ready?!  Let's go!!

Last year I had clips with my students' names on them, but since I'm team teaching this year I didn't want to make 35 clips!
Last year I used Skippyjon Jones as my take-home writing buddy.  Students took him home in a backpack along with the book and a composition notebook over a weekend.  They wrote about their weekend with Skippy and shared with the class on Monday.  They also had a poster to decorate with information about them to display in the hall.  Like everything else, I start the year off by modeling how to journal and design a poster.  I have mine all ready to go in the hall.

Loving my front door!  How could you not fall in love with the precious mason jars and that precious vinyl "hello" decal?!  I also think it's so darling how my building still has the name plates made for your door. 

Birthday Wall- I only have 18 homeroom students, but I am displaying ALL of my students' birthdays.  My team teacher has 15 students in her homeroom.  The display is by Tricia Lyday on TpT and the adorable flamingos are by Melonheadz.
Student brag tags will be kept on this wall.  The students will put their brag tags on large binder rings.   I used clear Command Decorating Clips to hold the binder rings.  
This is my Daily 5 display.  The banner is from my Editable Banner Template pack on TpT.   I made my rotation cards with School Girl Style's Watercolor Flamingo papers. 
I LOVE my area above my door.  Melonheadz make everything better.  And did you see my precious clock?! 
I created my own clock on Zazzle with the help of School Girl Style, KG fonts, and Creative Clips.  
My learning target display is laminated so I just write the target on with an Expo marker and erase.  I love the  "key vocabulary" space so students can identify important terms for each new unit.  This display pack is by Colleen Alaniz on TpT, but the title I created with KG fonts.
Last year I used an anchor chart wall in my classroom and I swear by it!  My kids always used it as a reference.  The anchor is by Creative Clips and I had it enlarged at our Teacher Production Center.
I am so in love with my new Grammar Wall above it by Learning in Wonderland.  
My WRITE board stays the same all year.  It displays my Writing Process Clip Chart so my students can move their clip throughout the writing process and I can easily see who is ready to meet with me during writing process pieces.  You can purchase this clip chart in my TpT store.
The color editing pencil is from my Personal Editing Checklist product in my TpT store.  I blew up the poster using our poster-maker in school and colored it in.
Those precious genre posters are by Rachel Lamb and are in her TpT store.

Each table has one of these organizers.  I like to keep minimal stuff in their desks because everything just gets lost.  I added this last drawer to make trash collecting at each table easier.

I have to house math manipulatives in my room even though I'm not teaching any math.  It's a bit annoying since I have minimal storage in my room.   To avoid unpacking the boxes, I wrapped in colorful wrapping paper so these boxes weren't eye sores. 
I am SO IN LOVE with the name tags I made for my kiddos with the help of School Girl Style and KG Fonts.  My homeroom kids' names are on the left and my switch class is on the right of each desk.

Panoramic view of my view from my door. 

Thanks for stopping by, y'all!  I'd love to read your thoughts and comments so make sure to leave some love!