Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School Read Alouds

Hello All! In case you didn't know I love books. I mean LOVE books. They're one of my favorite treats.  A new hardcover picture books is right up there with cake batter ice-cream and ooey-gooey mac and cheese. Seriously. That's love folks.

I've decided to compile some of my favorites both new and old for the elementary classroom.

1. My Teacher is a Monster! No, I am Not. by Peter Brown
Bobby describes his teacher as a monster who growls and stomps around until one day he spends time with her outside of school and realizes that she is not what he thought she was. The simplicity of the story and illustrations make this an easy to read and enjoyable book for all!

2. How Not to Start Third Grade by Cathy Hapka
This book reminds me of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing...Will is dreading the start of his third grade year, it means he'll be sharing his school with his VERY naughty little brother. This books is sure to get a lot of giggles!!!

3. Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
Just try to sing this song and not get it stuck in your head. Go ahead, I dare you! Younger primary grades adore Pete and jamming out as he goes to school.

4. Miss Nelson is Missing! by James Marshall
James Marshall is always a fan favorite, and this oldie is certainly not moldy.  Miss Nelson is Missing still delights my students no matter how many times they've heard it.

5. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Witt
I've read this every day on the first day of school for the past three years. I love to connect Scaredy Squirrel jumping into the 'Unknown' to all of the unknowns that come along with a new school year. 

6. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneburg
This classic is a favorite read aloud for a lot of teachers on the first day of school, it's great for dealing with nervousness. 

7. The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler 
Another forever favorite! I love how there is a picture book and chapter book series to go along too!

8. David Goes to School by David Shannon
Who doesn't love David???

9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
This book creates for an excellent opportunity on how your students can help themselves when they are having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

10. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Another great books dealing with nervousness and uncertainty.  I also love reading Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes to talk about the power of our words towards others.

11. Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
Students love, love, love to hear about sassy Junie B. and her first day of kindergarten.

12. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
A Fabulous heartwarming story about love and growing up. 

13. The Night Before First Grade Natasha Wing
This sweet rhyming poem is a great read for 1st grade teachers.  There's also a kindergarten version of the same book- so cute!!

14. My Mouth is a Volcano! by Julia Cook
Julia Cook's books are always a great addition to any classroom.  This title is great for curing a bad case of the blurts!

15. Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre 
Hysterical read aloud for art teachers and primary level classrooms. 

16. How Do Dinosaurs Go to School by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Sweet read aloud for your littles as they get ready for school!

17. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
My third graders loved hearing about Ramona and her adventures in kindergarten this past year. 

18. The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
A touching story about the importance of being yourself. 

19. If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff 
Adorable and fun!

20. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Mario Dismondy
I love the theme of this story about having the courage to be who you are no matter what!

21. Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship by Edward Hemingway
This sweet story about two unlikely friends makes for an adorable read aloud for any elementary classroom.

22. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Even though it always hurts my throat, I can't resist reading Fudge's dialogue in a silly voices that gets my students rolling on the floor. 

23. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Another great classic story that's excellent for talking about team work and cooperation in the classroom.

24. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
Another fun story to help cure the blurts!

25. Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary
A fantastic book that shoes even the most stubborn student can learn a lesson.  This books is especially fantastic for those grades who are learning cursive writing.

I hope you were able to spot some new read alouds on this list.  What are some of your favorite back to school must haves? I'm always looking to add to my collection! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why'd I Buy It?!?

I'm linking up with Elementary AMC today to show you some of my new classroom purchases.  It's a place for all of us teachers to Ooooo and Ahhhh over one another's new sparkling things without judgement! Love it! Some people just don't understand how exciting it is that Post-It has released a new colored sticky note...or how thrilled I am that my favorite Crayola Skinny Markers now come in bold colors. Seriously. I'm counting on you all to jump up and down with me, okay? Okay!

First up is my new Ikea rug. I have a carpeted classroom, so fortunately I've not felt the need to purchase a rug.  It was an expense that could be spared.  However, on a trip to Ikea I spotted this cutie...and with the Ikea family discount it was $15...seriously. Ikea was daring me NOT to buy this rug. 

Since I've been giving my library a rainbow makeover I decided to purchase this rainbow set of paper lanterns! I can't wait to see how it all turns out! 
Of course I had to buy a new book to start out the school year, this How Not to Start Third Grade title looked adorable!!! 

I don't shop at Meijer often, but I fell in love with this astrobright lined paper, bold skinny markers, and this Scotch masking tape! How cute is that!?

Do you follow me on Instagram? I usually post all of my shopping finds there along with all sorts of things I just can't get enough of!  Search for ShortandSassyTeacher and I'd be happy to return the favor and follow you too!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It 7-28-14

Hi, remember me!? I've been enjoying this hectic and quick summer...where has the time gone??
I've been traveling all the great midwest this summer, spending time with friends and family, and have even snuck into my classroom for a day or two. 

I decided to take on the daunting task of reorganizing my classroom just had to be done.  My labels were peeling off and the original organization or groupings of the bins were just not working anymore. 

I use standard plastic shoe boxes because they're cheap and I can always find new ones that match.  I have an unreasonable fear about investing in the super cute colored bins and the brand to decide not to carry the color I need anymore.  Resulting in mismatched bins...the horror! 

With the help of Molly at Lessons with Laughter Colorful Library products, my library is on the way to looking pretty darn good!  

I adore Molly's adorable label stickers for each individual book.  It makes keeping the books organized throughout the year much more smooth for my kiddos.  My previous labels were no where near this cute! Plus, the oil from hands rubbed the ink off of many of the Avery labels.  So, I've added the step of a layering a piece of Scotch packaging tape on top. 

Hopefully this library won't need another makeover anytime soon!!!

This week I was SO proud of myself for finally finishing a few projects that had been on my To Do list for what seemed like forever! I'm thrilled with how my Reading Strategy and Skill Poster Set came out and can't wait to use it on my classroom Focus Board. At $3.25 it could be a great addition to your room too..and don't forget about the upcoming TPT B2S Sale!!!

Another thing crossed off the list is my Multiplication Bingo game! I'm making the transition into Guided Math Centers this year and can't wait to use this with my third graders! Last year I used a Homophone Bingo game in my literacy centers and it was a BIG HIT....can't wait to see how they love this! 

I'm hoping to stay on a roll this week by continuing to work on some school projects.  Operation file cabinet makeover is in the works! 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tune Into Technology: Using Tech with Reading

It's baaaaaaack!
Aylin, Amanda, and Kristin have decided to bring back their Tune into Technology linky party. I am oh so greatful beacuse I am in need of a little technology inspiration or pinspiration if you will. 

So...last year I blogged about how I use Fotobabble with my students to make book recommendations, you can read about that HERE.

I'm fortunate enough to have had an entire set of iPads in my classroom for the past two years. We've been able to learn and create a lot with these wonderful tools!  I work closely with a fellow third grade teacher and my District's Techonogy Director to collaborate new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom.  My Director is a big proponent of using technology because it offers something better for my students, not just for the sake of using technology. 


I was SO thankful when she introduced me to Doctopus.  Doctopus is an app that helps make sharing documents with your students easier through Google Drive. The initial set-up was a tad time consuming my first time around, but I was able to speed-up once I got the hang of things!

The first thing I needed to do was create a master roster of all of my students' names and school e-mail accounts. Once I had all of this info in, I can just make a copy of the roster for the individual assignments, like my Animal Report above.
This project was a graphic organzier for my students to use while researching for their animal reports.  Initially I wanted to create the organzier with boxes, but Google Drive wouldn't allow that. 
:( Hopefully they'll update that!
Instead I have lines separating the different topics.  My students had learned a few different ways to take notes, but at the end of the day I always have them choose what's easiest for them to read and decipher. 

My favorite part of using Doctopus is from a teacher management position.  Whether I'm at my teacher table or home I am just a click away from seeing any of my students' progress on the daily assignment. 
To keep students focused on the task and motivated I'd also occassionaly pull up someone's work on our Smart Board for the class to admire. The kids LOVED this and would busily continue working in the hopes that they'd be the next featured writer.
I also loved leaving my kiddies little comments about their work during the day or in the evening.  It was always something exciting...who doesn't like getting a little note?!?
The comment feature is also great for the workshop model in my classroom.  It's inveitable in my classroom that there is almost always a student hovering by my desk...or blankly staring at their notebook because they have a question while I'm doing a one-to-one writing conference with another student. 
My kiddies, like Nick above, love to send me their questions while they're working.  That way they don't have to 'hold it in' and have a fear of forgetting it. 

After comleting their research my kids expanded their writing into paragraphs on these fun flip charts.  They loved the compacted space and their teacher LOVED that they were full of great information!
If you're interested in a full tutorial, I found one HERE that seems to be great!

Be sure to check out all of the other great tech ideas every Tuesday in July at Learning to the Core and I Teach 1:1!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monday Made It 7/7/14

Are you still standing after the holiday weekend?? After a few BBQ's, birthday parties, parades, fireworks, and a wedding I'm barely making it.  Can I tell you that I'm proud of myself for finishing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR projects!!! I decided to give myself a personal challenge the past few weeks of just using supplies I already purchasing of crafing candy allowed. :(

I just might end that streak for next week, but who knows! I do like using some of the stuff that's been hanging out in my drawers!

Okay, first thing's first...will you forgive me for using my handwriting and not typing up a pretty label? Will you? Please? Pretty please??
I have a large collection of paper I should be ashamed by how many I have. Don't you know that if Michael's puts paper straws in their dollar section I HAVE to get them? Well, I do.
It's a fact.
I used my circle cutter from Fiskers, left over scrapbook paper, paper straws, and some ribbon scraps to create these little lollipop labels!
I like the idea of using these to label some of my student supply bins.  You can read more about my classroom supplies HERE on For The Love of Teaching's blog. :)
My second made-it was made with left over cardstock in my classroom colors (magenta, orange, lime, teal, and purple) as well as some leftover glitter paper, one spool of ribbon, and my Fisker's circle cutter!
I've been all about making buntings this past year. They're SUPER simple and SUPER affordable. I usally make mine with left over scraps of paper or fabric. Put on an episode of Real Housewives and I'm good to go!
Just punch two holes on either side of your piece of paper or fabric, string the ribbon through the back and wha-la!
This particular bunting was inspired by Eric Carle's dots on the inside covers of The Hungry Caterpillar...LOVE!

This next Made It I meant to make last year...and boy was I regretting it! I bought this glitter photo album from Michael's with the intent of filling it up with my students' usernames and passwords for the variety of sites and apps we use throughout the year.
Do you see some left over glitter paper that made it onto there??
Anyway, between school log-ins, Acellerated Reader, Show Me, Edmodo, our math on-line series, our reading on-line series, Google Drive, and who knows what else I cannot keep everything straight!
My tech director and I try to keep the same username for as many places as we can for the kids sanity (and mine) but inevitably something almost always has to change.
I printed off this simple little organizer and will be filling it in with pencil. I KNOW that at some point the log-ins will have to change. Ugh!
Hopefully this will help me stay organized...

My last made-it was something just for me.  I know what you're probably looks like your necklaces are all in a mess!
Well, folks I did that on purpose!
When I first spotted Amanda Seyfried in this Tom Binns Design necklace I thought it was to die for. I fell in love with the messy, unstyling look of the jumbled jewlery box necklace.  I immediately started collecting my own vintage and vintage inspired necklaces to combine together.
I know it's not for everyone, but I'm loving it!
I can't wait to see what everyone else has been busy making and to start getting inspired for next week!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tips and Tricks Guest Post!

Hi There!
Come visit me over at Lana's 4 The Love of Teaching!  I'm writing a guest post on these beautiful babies and other affordable (and cheap) organization products for your classroom supplies! :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

God Bless 'Merica!

God Bless 'Merica Folks!!!
I've been out celebrating our country's birthday and hope you've been doing that too!
I'm pretty sure this was my best view of fireworks ever! Score!
I loved these old school Chicago Police cars in my hometown parade!
Gotta declare my love of bagpips and my love for my alma mater!
Monmouth College Fighting Scots!!!
Of course I had to jam out to my Daddy-o and brother's band! They dressed up as the Blues Brothers and played songs from the movie to advertise for the upcoming Blues Festival in town!
The guys asked to be surrounded in chicken wire just like the Honky Tonk scene from the movie! My Dad even wrote ELWOOD on his knuckles!
It was too funny!
Happy 4th Y'all!
Come visit me tomorrow while I guest blog over at buddy's blog 4 the Love of Teaching!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tips and Tricks: Holiday Decorations

Hey There! I hope this post finds you ready to enjoy some 4th of July festivities! Who doesn't love going partially deaf as 24 firetrucks pass you buy s.l.o.w.l.y. with their sirens blaring?? Or the delicious taste of a warm Tootsie Roll you picked off of the curb- YUM!

In all reality I really do like celebrating Independence Day along with any other holiday! Today I wanted to share with you my tips and tricks on organizing my holiday decorations in the classroom.  

So, first off I really really really try to keep my holiday decorations to a minimum.  I mean, who has the space to store all of that?? I also spend so much time and $$$ decorating my room at the beginning of the year, that I don't like to change up too much.  
It is nice to mix things up every once in a while and my kiddos always seem to appreciate the little holiday or seasonal touches I add to our classroom.  

Most of the seasonal decorations that hang in the classroom are projects that my kids have created. I love to see their work hanging proudly on our walls and they love it too! 
One decoration I change out monthly are these cardboard letters found at Joann's or Hobby Lobby.  I've painted them in coordinating colors and have a set for just about every month...
October: EEK
November: GIVE
December/January: SNOW
February: HUG
March: LUCK
April/May: BLOOM

In addition to my cardboard letters I also have a few window decor pieces, window/mirror clings, and one yard of a holiday themed fabric.  Since my classroom has an entire wall of windows (LOVE IT!)  window decor pieces add a big punch to my classroom decor from the inside and the outside of the building.
The window/mirror clings are the perfect size to go on the small section of glass on my classroom door. 
The holiday themed fabric also packs quiet the punch.  I like to use it as a tablecloth in an area that is highly utilized by my students and myself. 

For storage I'm able to fit my fabric and window clings along with any other little dollar store treasures into one gallon sized Ziploc bags.  

I like how I can see everything at a quick glance and how nicely everything is stored.  The Ziploc Bags lay flat on top of one another, the window decorations are also pretty comparable in size. 

Right now I've got all of my decorations fitting into one large tub, but they could easily fit into another smaller sized bin. Hmm...that just might be something I have to do. 

Do you decorate your classroom monthly? How do you store all of your decorations?