Saturday, August 31, 2013

Interrupting Chickens!

I survived the first week of school! Wa-hoo! Alright, it was only 3 days with my students...but hey that counts! We're working our way up to a full 5 day week.  Let me tell you the weather has been hot, hot, hot in Chicago this past week.  We're talking mid-July hot -n- humid style (YUCK)! So that plus a school without air conditioning and add 27 students into a room...things can get a bit uncomfortable.  I was so proud of my students, not one of my little chick-a-dees complained about the heat!

Back to the topic at hand...Interrupting Chicken! As you know, it doesn't take long to figure out if you have a student who has a bad case of 'the blurts'...come on, there's always at least one! Well, this year is no exception for me and I wanted to address it right away!  David Ezra Stein's book Interrupting Chicken is a super cute read aloud! I planned on creating an anchor chart with my students on characteristics of Interrupting Chicken and behaviors we should avoid at school...but then I found Mrs. Wheeler from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade  and her amazing freebie on Interrupting Chicken! I really couldn't have designed anything more perfect, so THANKS!!!

After reading the book with my class, we created this anchor chart using pieces from Mrs. Wheeler's freebie on TPT and organized behaviors of an interrupting chicken and behaviors of a respectful student.  It's a great reminder for students as their coming back from summer vacation and easing back into school mode.  Plus, it gives me the opportunity to say, "Uh-oh! Is there an interrupting chicken in my class today??" followed by a loud gasp from the rest of the class. 
The freebie also included this cute worksheet where my students drew an example of someone behaving like an interrupting chicken and someone behaving like a responsible student.  How ca-ute is that! I've collected these and will be binding them into a fun class book!  You can download this awesome freebie HERE!
Best of luck with your all of your interrupting chickens this year!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Show Me What YOU Know!

I've been busy working and preparing for the school year these past few weeks and am ecstatic that my new Thirdsters will be arriving on Wednesday!  Monday marked our first institute day and the official beginning of the year for teachers. Part of this day was devoted to educating staff on technology in the classroom.  I had the honor of being asked to appear as a presenter with my teammate who also has been piloting the iPads in her classroom. 

Our presentation focused on one of my FAVORITE free apps to use in the classroom...Show Me! For those of you who don't know Show Me turns your iPad into your personal interactive whiteboard, allowing you to record voice-over tutorials and share them with the online learning community.   It also allows my students to apply what they have learned and create evidence to prove their knowledge.

Here are some ways I've been able to incorporate Show Me into my classroom so far....

Show Me How Fluently You Can Read!

Show Me saved precious classroom instructional time by allowing my students to record themselves reading their fluency poem privately.  This allowed me to continue working with small groups AND check my students' fluency at my convenience!

Show Me You Understand What You Read!

After reading a selection from our science text book, I instructed my students to draw all of the planets in order from the sun and 'show off' what they knew about the planets.  You should know that once you give third graders permission to show off....they go to students uploaded a 12 minute video!

Show Me You Can Explain Your Answer!

I was able to use Show Me as a modification for an IEP student.  Since this student had a writing goal, rather than writing out the steps he took to solve the problem, he was able to verbally explain how he was answering the problem.

I Can Show You How to Solve Your Homework Problems 

One of my favorite ways to incorporate Show Me into the classroom was by creating short tutorials for my students.  These videos are automatically shared with my students, who could view them (with their headphones) during independent math practice as a short review.  I also posted these videos onto my classroom webpage in a section titled Homework Helper, which you can read more about HERE.

Have you tried Show Me yet? What are some ways that you've used Show Me in your classroom?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blogger Exchange and a Sneak Peek

It came! It finally came! I was so excited to receive my package from Lindsay over at Mrs. Johnson's Little Prowlers. I had a lot of fun shopping for Lindsay and a lot of fun being surprised by Lindsay! Thanks Lindsay, I LOVE everything!
Here's a run-down on all my goodies:
-super adorable polka-dot composition notebook for note taking during meetings
-my absolute FAVORITE pens ever- FLAIRS!!! I'm so excited, aren't those colors gorgeous!?
-fun pink zebra duck tape (this might just go on my pencils so that they aren't confused with my students)
-3 packs of adorable glitter clothespins. So fun! Y'all know I've got a thing for glitter.
-My first pack of Scento Markers ever! I was thrilled to finally see what all of the fuss was about and was NOT disappointed.  My third graders are going to love getting a little star with these yummy smelling markers!
I've been working hard in my classroom getting ready for all of my new students to arrive next week.  Here's a sneak peak at my progress so far!   I'm loving my pretty wall of windows and of course my adorable bunting!

These are my new drawer organizers for each pod of students.  They'll be more information to come on these guys later...but I'm loving the colors! I picked up the caddies at Michaels and the taped laminated cardstock inside each of the drawers to conceal any mess to match.

I updated my reading bags, students use for their independent reads, this year and replaced them with large canvas tote bags from Really Good Stuff. 

This is a shot from my new teacher area of the back wall.  My team has decided to use Ladybug Teacher File's idea of C.R.A.F.T. this year to extend our C.A.F.E. model.

Check out that mess! There's still so much to do, time to kick it up a notch!  I've been having a lot of fun checking out everyone's classrooms this year and am continuing to be inspired by all of the awesomeness out there! Stop it with all of the great ideas out there! Seriously, stop it! I can't keep up!
Best of luck to anyone starting school this week! 


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

I got back into my classroom this week and this is the beautiful mess that I created! Woof! I excel and unpacking boxes...I'm just not so great at putting it all away.  So, after two days, my room still looks like this. 
Remember how I said I wanted my desk removed? Well, it happened!!! I got this beautiful new table instead! I'm thrilled! Right now I'm thinking I might use it for our classroom computer and a writing organization station.  We shall see, I'm known for changing my mind frequently.
It doesn't look like much now, but I'm really excited about my new teacher area using my small group table.  Can we talk about all of the gorgeous natural light coming through the classroom windows!? Our school bought new blinds for our classrooms this year and I'm loving how much brighter my room looks already!
One project I did finish was updating my classroom mailboxes with this fabulous chevron contact paper! You can purchase it from Amazon HERE
Hopefully I'm not the only one out there who's feeling a tad overwhelmed about getting ready for a new school year!  I'll be back soon with more updated progress...hopefully! :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made-it 8-5-13

I'm back again for another Monday Made-It! I missed last week's and felt all out of sorts.  To be truthful, the things I've been 'making' haven't been super duper cute enough for me to share with all of you.  They've been more of those not so fun things on my to-do list.  BUT I do have a couple of cute bits and pieces to share. :) 

First up is a little back to school prezzy for my teammates. They're glass blob (?) magnets for our chalkboards.  The scrapbook paper came in a pack from Michaels, I adore the school bus one! I packaged these with a note saying, "If we 'stick' together, we'll have a great year!"

I finally got a teacher toolbox! I've been debating about it all summer and took the plunge this week.  I'd really, really love to get rid of the giant monstrosity that is my desk this year...but storage space is precious in my school. (Last year I was scolded for removing one teeny tiny table) SO my plan is to use my kidney-bean shaped table as my desk area and move the big desk to the back of the room and use it as a writing center.  Here's to hoping this will work!

The labels came from Ladybug's Teacher Files, I think she is simply amazing and shares the most wonderful things! Now comes the I put white paper in the front of the drawers to conceal what is inside...or do I leave it them open? 

I'm leaning towards concealing for privacy...and then I don't have to look at the hidden clutter :)

My last little share was also inspired by another blogger I idolize, Molly at Lessons with Laughter. She made an adorable chalkboard for her classroom, now mine doesn't look like much without any chalk writing on it, but I still love it! I picked up the frame on sale at Target and used this amazing chalkboard contact paper I ordered from Amazon.  This stuff was super
 cool and easy to work with! Confession: I'm an absolutely horrid spray painter and decided to stay away this year.:)

One last little image that just makes me smile. :) I can't believe summer is coming to a close and there is so much to be done!
Thank you for reading and be sure to check out all of the other adorable projects at Tara's linky party!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Currently...It's My Birthday!

Okay, so it's not technically my birthday anymore...but close enough!  I love having a summer birthday as a teacher, I don't have to share it with work!  As a kid I didn't have to go to school on my birthday, which I thought was amazing! However, I was mortified once when a friend bought me school supplies for my seventh birthday...what the heck!? Funnily enough, this seems to be the common theme for my gifts now, which is okay by me!
Here are some of my birthday treats!
I'm loving these lollies that were found at Hobby Lobby! Can't wait to add that to my classroom d├ęcor! Choward's violet scented mints and chewing gum are such a treat! I adored my 5th grade teacher and she once shared these with me...I've been obsessed ever since. 
AND: Do you notice what is underneath? Can you recognize the cover? That's Erin Condren Planner. Love it!
Now...on to Currently!
Listening: New Girl Season 1...I'd be embarrassed to count out how many times I've watched the entire season...but I haven't gotten tired of it yet! Plus, how can you resist Nick's Turtle Face!?!
Loving: This amazing weather in Chicagoland! I seriously cannot believe how gorgeous it's been! I think our usual hot and humid August weather will come just in time for school. Wahh!  I'm loving the Back to School sales a little too piles of stuff keep growing...and growing...and growing! Eek!

Thinking: I need to pack for my St. Louis trip.  A few of my college besties and I decided to take an impromptu road trip down there together...and I can't wait! Watching Legally Blonde the Musical, frolicking in the grown-up size playground at the City Museum, and shopping and Women's Closet Exchange (Resale Royalty...anybody else love that show??) are on the list.  If you know of any other things I've ought to try out let me know!

Wanting: A shopping spree courtesy of Target.  I give those folks enough of my money...curse you Target for always having everything I never knew I needed and more!

Needing: Aside from needing to pack...gosh am I procrastinating...I NEED a haircut and color.  This accidental ombre look is just not doing it for me.

Back to School Must Haves:
1. Flair Pens are my absolute favorite writing utensil! I love all of the fun colors, but the black always seem to write the nicest. 
2. A fabulous teacher bag is a must, last year I invested in a Michael Kors tote as a back-to-school/birthday gift to myself.  Swoon.
3. pumped about my new pretty one!

Can I show off one more prezzy to you?? Sure I can! (It's my blog...right!?)
My creative sister made me this awesome piece of crayon art! Isn't it awesome? I love the cute little umbrella over the couple, so presh!
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out all of the other Currently post at Farley's, it's a great way to find new blogs!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tune into Technology: QR Code Scavenger Hunts

I can't believe this is the last week of iTeach1:1 and Learning to the Core's Tune into Technology link party! I really have been enjoying all of the amazing ideas out there this summer.
 (Speaking of it really August already?!?)

This week's theme is: QR Codes in the classroom.  I LOVE using QR codes! First of all, they are extremely easy to create for your classroom, they're free if you use a site like, and they make you look super 'techie' with minimal effort. Yeah, buddy! Sign me up! 

I've used QR codes on my newsletter and on the cover of my parent handbook to link to our classroom website, as well as on my Scholastic book order letter, which linked to our Scholastic page for on-line orders.  However, my students' favorite way to use QR codes was during a scavenger hunt.  

Scavenger hunts were a favorite activity in my room to either introduce a new topic or review before a test.  I upped the fun factor by making our last one into a QR code scavenger hunt.  Students worked in partners.  One student was the 'photographer' who scanned the QR codes on the iPad using a free QR scanner app.  The second student was the 'secretary' who wrote the information discovered from the code onto a recording sheet on a clipboard.  Students switched jobs half way through the hunt, it ensure no whining about unfairness. ;)

This year I plan on incorporating more scavenger hunts into my school day and I thought I'd share them with you too! 

I've created three QR Code Scavenger Hunts so far.  Each of these products include a recording sheet, QR codes to be arrange around the room, and an answer key for the teacher.  

The scavenger hunt topics include Reading Genres, Figurative Language, and The Seven Continents (this happens to be my first S.S. unit this fall) 

You can check out these products at my TPT store by clicking on any of the images above.  Thanks again for reading and a HUGE thank you to the girls at iTeach1:1 and Learning to the Core for hosting this amazing party this summer!