Sunday, July 31, 2011

Polka Dot Pots

Every year I try to get my wonderful team something little at the beginning of the year to say Welcome Back!  Normally, I get them a notebook and pencil to go with it.  This year I was trying to think outside the box (or notebook in this case).  Here's what I came up with.  I wanted some for my room to add a little warmth to it so I thought my team might like one too.  Tell me what you think.  :)

I got the pots at Wal Mart.  They're plastic so they won't break.  I know the plants don't look like much - yet.  They are the "babies" from my spider plant.  They shouldn't take long to grow.  (And, if they don't, the pots can always be cleaned out and used as pen holders!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New (School) Year's Resolution Linky Party

Clutter-Free Classroom is hosting a linky party on what your New Year's Resolutions are for the new school year.  What a great way to reflect on your own personal goals for the year as well as possibly getting some new ideas from other great bloggers.  So, my goals for the year are:

1.  Make my room inviting looking This year I want to add some warm touches to my classroom like plants and bean bag chairs just to make it feel a little more like home.  (Thanks to Donors Choose I'm getting 4 new bean bag chairs.  Yay!) 

2.  Keep an organized classroom.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I start the year off organized with everything in its place, but then I get busy and before I know it piles start popping up (as well as dust bunnies...)!  This year I want to keep up with this because I think if the teacher is organized, the kids will be too!

3.  Have fun!  I sometimes forget about this with all the pressure of getting the kiddos where they need to be.  I've found tons of fun games and activities on blogs that I plan on integrating into my curriculum to put the fun back in. 

I can't wait to read about all of your resolutions as well.  :)

Back to School Mega Giveaway!

Are you ready to go Back to School?  Erica Bohrer is hosting a Back to School Bonanza Giveaway should help you get in the mood!  Twelve fabulous bloggers have teamed up to give one lucky winner a huge back to school prize pack!  The contest will run until midnight eastern time, on Thursday, July 28th. 
 Click on the picture to go to Erica's blog for your chance to win!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reading Strategies Freebie!

Earlier this summer I was inspired by Mrs. Jump's blog  She had posted reading strategies and clip art that went with each strategy.  I loved it and immediately thought that I was definitely going to use it.  But, then I realized that the strategies that my school uses are different from the ones on the blog.

So... I got my creative juices flowing and made strategy cards to go with the reading strategies that are used at my school.  I think they turned out pretty cute too!  What do you think?

Get your own by clicking here.

I am going to hang the strategy cards on the bulletin board in my guided reading area as well as in my library corner.

Another thing I made was a strategy card to send home with my students in their repeated reading bag.  That way they can have access to the same strategies at home as they do in school.

Click the picture for your copy.
Another thing I plan to do with the strategies that are all on one page is laminate and cut them apart and then attach them to my guided reading table with velcro.  That way I can take a strategy off and hand it to a student if I want them to use it, or I can take one off the table if they're using it too much (like the "guess" strategy!)  I'll post a picture once I get into my classroom and have it all set up.  :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

ADORABLE Bracelet Giveaway! Don't Miss it!

My friend Tara at 4th Grade Frolics is having a giveaway to celebrate 250 followers.  She has teamed up with Sophie of Sophies Beads and is giving away an adorable Seussy bracelet.  You don't want to miss your chance to win it.  What are you waiting for?  Go now!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rainbow Fish!

One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is to read the Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.  After reading the story, we discuss how the rainbow fish treated others the way she wanted to be treated because she shared her shiny scales with everyone in the ocean.  By sharing her scales, not only did it make the other fish in the ocean happy, it also made the rainbow fish feel good.  Once we've discussed the author's purpose, I have each student trace a large fish pattern on a piece of paper and then water color the paper.  After lunch, once they are dry, the kiddos cut out their fish and then I share one shiny scale (aluminum foil that the students think is better than gold!) with each student to glue on to their fish.  The fish make a great display and it's a wonderful way to remind the students to share with their classmates.  I wish I had pictures from last year's fish.  I'll be sure to take some and post them when we do this activity this year.

Teaching Heart is having a back to school party!

"Teaching Heart ( ) is hosting their annual back to school party on July 24th till July 30th.  Each Day a new prize!  Gift cards, Books, Teaching Heart Products, and more!!!  Plus a free printable will be posted during the week.  You need to visit the blog at; 
daily to check out the prizes each day and enter for the ones you want to win!!!"

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Grade O.W.L.S. Giveaway

First Grade O.W.L.S. is having a 100 follower giveaway.  Visit her site for your chance to win an item from her friend Dee Dee Wills TpT store AND a $25 gift card to Target. 

Keeping Records - FREE

We all know how important it is to keep a record of the conversations we have with our parents.  The best way I have found to keep track of all those phone calls, conversations in the lunch room, front office, at parent pick-up...(you get the idea) is to create a parent communication binder.  I put this form on each desk at Open House (which is just before school starts).  Before the parents leave, I ask that they fill out the top portion of the form and leave on the desk.  Once they are all filled out, I place each form in a sheet protector and then put them all in a binder.  I keep the binder right next to my phone.  Every time that I talk to a parent (well, almost every time...) I write down the date, who I spoke to and the gist of the conversation.  I like to keep these forms in sheet protectors because then you can use them like an envelope to put all of the notes that you receive from parents.  Imagine...all that communication in one spot!  Click the picture to download FREE!

Blog Button Giveaway

Sister Teachers is have a giveaway to celebrate 50 followers.  They will custom design a blog button for the 2 winners.  Their giveaway is easy to enter so head over for your chance to win!

Gift Card For Your Creativity

Color Me Happy in Kindergarten is looking for some creative ideas on how to use Altoid tins.  She is even rewarding the most creative person with a $10 gift card to Target.  Head over to her site to share your ideas!

Blog Mixer Linky Party!

Yearn to Learn is having a blog mixer party!

1.  A new kid on the block blogger - Fantastic 1st Grade

2.  A blogger in my grade level - First Grade O.W.L.S.

3.  A blogger in a different grade level - Blog Stalker

4.  A cute blog button - 4th Grade Frolics

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open House Scavenger Hunt!

It's hard to beleive that summer is nearing an end and that I have to start thinking about going back to school.  I was thinking about all of those back to school things that I need to accomplish or get copied.  (Although it's way more fun looking at all the ideas on everyone's blogs!) 

Our school has an Open House prior to the students starting.  It's an informal night where the parents and students can come in to the school, find their classroom, meet the teacher and their classmates.  There is no presentation involved, just an informal meet and greet.  To help the parents and students feel a little more comfortable on this night, I place a scavenger hunt just outside the classroom door.  Each student takes one before coming in to the classroom.  Right away they know what to do and don't feel awkward or look lost, wandering aimlessly around.

Click on the picture to get your own Open House Scavenger Hunt.  :)

Giveaway at The Lesson Plan Diva!

The Lesson Plan Diva is celebrating 500 followers with tons of freebies and a $15 Amazon Gift Card giveaway!  It's an easy giveaway to enter with freebies for every level!  Head over to check it out! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chrysanthemum Flowers REVISED

The link to Mrs. Bonzer's website should be working now.

Chrystanthemum is one of my favorite beginning of the year books.  But, after doing it so many years in a row, I needed to change up the activities that I did after I read the book aloud.  Last year I found an adorable Chrysanthemum activity on Mrs. Bonzer's website .  I did it with my class and they loved it.  We had the bouquet of flowers in my classroom all year as a decoration.  I then sent home the flowers on the last day of school.  When I passed them out at the end of the year, the students even remembered why they had put the number of leaves, petals and popsicle sticks.  I'm definetely going to do it again this year.  Here's a picture of our bouquet:

Another thing I do with this book is I made a picture of Chrysanthemum and then laminated it.  As I'm reading the story, each time Chrysanthemum is made fun of, I let a volunteer draw a line over her with a vis-a-vis marker to show how hurt she is from the awful way she is being treated.  At the end of the story, we wipe her clean because she feels a lot better.

If you have any other cute ideas for Chrysanthemum, post a comment.  I'd love to hear them.

Check out Learning With Mrs. Parker to see other great beginning of the year reading ideas.

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th Grade Frolics Giveaway!

4th Grade Frolics is having a giveaway to Target ($15!) and to Starbucks ($10!).  Go over there and enter.  You'll love her fab blog!

Set this Circus Down: Giveaway and Linky Party

Set this Circus Down is having a giveaway and a linky party.  The giveaway is for a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.  The Linky party is to go out and find an awesome new blog.  How exciting for all of us new bloggers.  Have fun!