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Classroom Cleaning Hacks

I really like my classroom to look nice and clean. We all know that after about 2 weeks into the school year, things start to look dingy. The white boards are no longer white, they are kind of grayish, yellowish color. I’m really not sure what color that is. They definitely don’t have that color in a box of crayons.

I’m always looking for better ways to clean my classroom and help it stay looking new throughout the year. Here are some great hacks and tips to help keep you and your classroom clean all year long! I especially like the marker stain tip. I always seem to get marker on my clothes all the time!

Scrub Down and Wipe Clean: Indispensable Classroom Cleaning Hacks

Brought to you by Quill

Which one of these tips will use in your classroom? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks,

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Five Things to do in the summer before school starts

It’s summertime! We made it through another school year. So now what should we do? Do you picture yourself sitting on the beach sipping a yummy drink? Let’s be honest, most of us don’t really do that. The beach is fun but, you usually leave burnt and sand in places you really don’t want to talk about. So let’s be realistic, what are you really going to do?

It's summer time and you are on vacation. There are some things that you can do to get prepared for the beginning of the school year.
I’m going to tell you five things you should do this summer before school starts.
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Relax- It’s important to do something not school related. Everybody’s idea relax is different. For some people it might be sitting in front of the TV binge watching shows on Netflix. For other’s it might be going to the gym. You need to get some kind of hobby. Maybe you and some friends should take a painting class. Maybe you should take your kids to park and let them play while you read a book. Find something that you enjoy and do it!

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Connect with other teachers It’s always fun to see what other teachers are doing around the world. There are so many Facebook groups that you can join to get some great ideas from other amazing teachers. If you teach 3rd grade there are many Facebook groups just for you. There are also groups for teachers in your state. There are several groups that I belong to for Texas teachers. Just search under groups and ask to join. Instagram is another great place to meet other teachers. Follow some of your favorites and see what they are doing over the summer.

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Professional development– It is so hard to do professional development during the school year so summer is the perfect time. If your district offers professional development make sure to sign up for some workshops that will help you with your teaching. I took a Guided Reading workshop and an RTI workshop this summer. I have a couple of other technology workshops planned for this summer. There are also some great books you can read. My favorites are Debbie Diller’s books. You can never go wrong with any of hers. Practice with Purpose is great.

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Design your classroom– This is a good time to design what you want your classroom to look like. Do you want to keep the same theme as last year? Maybe your bored with your theme but don’t want to spend a lot of money. I totally understand. Look on Pinterest to find some great ideas that you can incorporate in your room that won’t cost a lot. Summer is a great time to do some DIY decor for your classroom. Last year I changed up my classroom decor to the Texans and I love it. I had to make almost all of it myself because there isn’t  a lot of Texans decor for the classroom. It was fun to work on over the summer. Here are some of the items I made for my classroom. You can read more about it on my blog post here.

Texans classroom decor

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Reflect– This is a great time to think about what worked well last year and what bombed. I did a great job working with my lower students and teaching them comprehension strategies. I bombed at doing book clubs with my kids. I tried to really work on it but I just ran out of time meeting with them. I having been looking at other teacher’s blogs to see what they are doing and deciding what I need to change to make it work better next year. That’s what I like most about summer. It’s a time to reflect to see how you can grow as a teacher.

I hope you are able to do these 5 ideas. I really believe if you do these you will be better prepared for the new school year. Which idea will be easiest for you to do? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks,

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Guided Reading- What do I do with fluent readers?

Guided reading has been around for over 15 years. One of my graduate classes was on Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading. It worked great in the younger grades for teaching small group. The older grades complained that it wasn’t helpful for them. There wasn’t a lot of literature for using guided reading with older grades back then. About 10 years ago one of my favorite author’s, Debbie Diller, came out with Making the Most of Small Groups.

I love her books! She is amazing. I have been to many of her workshops. She has so much knowledge on guided reading.

Finally more people began to write more guided reading books and more school districts began to provide professional development. I have been very lucky that I am in a wonderful school district that has excellent professional development. I have been going to guided reading trainings for over 10 years now and have read many books. Of course with all that knowledge comes lots of different ideas. Trying to filter through all of the ideas is tiresome. I have tried many ideas that did not work too well.

Some ideas worked great in 2nd grade but when I moved to 3rd grade I struggled. Many of those awesome lessons I did with my lower level reading students didn’t work with my fluent readers. My fluent readers didn’t need help with decoding or fix up strategies. Now what? I really needed to focus on comprehension. They could retell the story but when they took assessments they did not always do well. What was going on? They can read well and they could tell me what the passage was about. The problem was with the academic vocabulary. The rigor of my small reading groups was not where it needed to be. I had to get the kids to dig dipper.

I wasn’t the only one having problems. Many teachers at our school and in our district were having the same troubles. Our district started doing more professional development on how to teach guided reading groups with the fluent readers. Some of the ideas I liked a lot and some I didn’t really agree with. One of the main points that struck me was I had to get my questioning more rigorous. I did a book study with some other teachers at my school with the book The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson.

I finally had that aha moment! This is what I need to be doing. I need to be preparing my students before they start reading. I need to be asking rigorous questions during their reading. I also need them to be doing a reader’s response after they read the passage. The reader’s response needs to be rigorous enough and cover the standards that we are  currently working on and spiral the other standards. I along with many of my colleagues have been doing our reading groups like this for several years now. I have had administrators, curriculum specialists, and other teachers come observe me and my students with our guided reading groups. I finally feel like I have a good grasp on my reading groups. My students are doing a better job at comprehending what they are reading. They also do well on the state test.

I have made a guided reading lesson plan and template for you to use in your classroom. I have made it editable so you can make it your own or tweak it for your classroom. I have included a sample of what one of my reader’s responses looks like. Just click on the picture to download it for free from my TPT store.

Guided Reading Lesson Plan

I hope you find this helpful! Let me know what you do with your fluent readers in the comment section below.

Thanks,

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Organization Hacks for Classroom Clutter

Clutter can definitely take over the classroom quickly. As teachers we have every color pen, pencils, folders, and paper for organization. We color code and label everything. Before long all these awesome tools start getting disorganized. Here are some great ideas from Quill for you to get control of the classroom.

Organization Hacks That Triumph Over Classroom Clutter

Brought to you by Quill

Which of these ideas do you think you can do? Let me know.

Thanks,

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Pool Party Blog Hop & Giveaway

I am joining up with Celeste at Education Highway to celebrate her birthday with this fun Pool Party Blog Hop.

Blog Hop ButtonI would like to share a fun summer idea I found on Pinterest.

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Pinterest has so many great ideas for the summer. My daughter loves painting. I found this great idea on Pinterest. Now let’s see if my daughter’s will turn out like this one.

pourpotstitlepicture from Pinterest

Blog Special Gift Freebie

 

 

 

Hopefully you are enjoying your summer. If you are still in school I have a fun math activity that you can do with your kids. If you are out for the summer, just save it for next year. My kids loved doing the activity where they planned a summer vacation with a friend. I hope your class enjoys it also. Just click on the picture to download the free activity.

Orlando sample_Page_01

Blog Sponsors eBoo

 

 

 

Celeste has made this great ebook of all the sponsors from her birthday giveaway. Click on the image below to download it.

Now make sure to sign up for these great giveaways below.
Prize Pack 1
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Prize Pack 2
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Prize Pack 3
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Prize Pack 4
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Don’t forget to go by and visit Celeste at the Education Highway  and wish her a Happy Birthday! Make sure to visit the other blogs below.


Thanks,

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week

We have finally made it to May! You deserve to have a great Teacher Appreciation Week. I am doing a Teacher Appreciation giveaway. I am giving away two $10 gift cards to TPT!

teacher giveaway

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week,  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale. These gift cards will be great to use during the sale on May 3rd and 4th.  My store will be 20% off and you can use the promo code “celebrate” for an additional 10% off.

Let me tell you what to do to win these $10 gift cards. Just sign up below on Rafflecopter and I will pick two winners tomorrow evening. The winners will receive the gift cards by email on Wednesday morning.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks,

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Currently May 2016

I am linking up with Farley for the final Currently. I have really enjoyed this fun linky and I have met some great bloggers. Thanks Farley for all the fun over the years!

 

currently may

Listening:  I love the Walking Dead and now I have gotten sucked into Fear of the Walking Dead.  I love one of the main characters, Nick!

Loving:  We went camping over the weekend. I was very relaxing and exactly what was needed. Just wished it was a little cooler.

Thinking: I really need to do some laundry. I have last weeks clothes and the camping clothes to wash.

Wanting: I am so ready for the STAAR tests to be over. My 4th graders are so ready for the test  to be over and I know they are going to do great.

Needing: I have been absent from the blogging world for a while. Life has been busy but I know I’m going to get back on track.

Truth: We just moved into a new house in a brand new neighborhood 6 months ago (hence the reason for the absence from blogging). Our neighbors on both sides of our house just can’t seem to cut their grass. I don’t understand, you have a brand new expensive house and you don’t want to keep the yard mowed. Ugh! So frustrating. It’s such a new neighborhood that we don’t have a civic association yet. Hopefully they will find someone to cut their grass soon!

Have a great Teacher Appreciation Week!

Thanks,

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Teaching Place Value

Teaching place value is one of the hardest concepts to teach in elementary school. I have found that you need to teach this difficult standard as many ways as possible.

The first thing I do is use place value manipulatives with the kids so they can see how 10 ones equals 1 ten and how 10 tens equals 1 hundred. Using the manipulatives makes it so much easier for the students to understand how numbers work.

Our state standards expect the students to know how to write the number in standard form, expanded form, word form, expanded notation, and pictorial models.  I make an anchor chart that explains the different ways to write numbers.

place value

I then have the students make a chart in their interactive notebook to help them remember all the ways to write numbers.  I have them write in on the right side of the notebook, I do it together with the students on my interactive whiteboard while they write it in their notebooks. We talk about each section as we write it down.

place value board

place value lesson

After the students have practiced with place value in work stations for a while I then check for understanding. I have them come up with a number and on the left side of the notebook I have them write down the ways they can write the numbers. I let them choose which way they would like to write it.

place value notebookThis is an easy way to see who is still struggling with the basics of place value. If students are still having difficulties then I can work with them in small group with the concepts they are still struggling with.

I hope I have given you some new ideas on how to teach place value. What do you do that works for your students? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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Gingerbread Man Activities

I love teaching using the Gingerbread Man! My kids in 2nd and 3rd have loved doing all these fun activities.

gingerbread man activities

One of the activities that I have done with my students is a Gingerbread Ornament made with cinnamon. This is so easy and make the whole room smell like cinnamon. The ingredients are cinnamon, applesauce, and glue. That’s it!

gingerbread ornamenthttp://www.pinterest.com/pin/259097784788194919/

These are not mine but click on the picture to take you to the link on how to make them.

Another fun activity that I did with my 2nd graders several years ago involved water, milk, and a gingerbread man cookie. This easy science experiment has kids really thinking why the Gingerbread Man can’t cross the river himself. We came up with reasons why he can’t get wet before doing the experiment. Then I stuck a gingerbread cookie in a glass of water and a glass of milk to see what would happen. Of course the cookies dissolved. This lead to a great discussion of why the cookie dissolves.

dissolving cookiehttp://www.pinterest.com/pin/259097784788194873/

Click on the picture to see what a kindergarten class did with this Gingerbread Man.

I also love to have the students write their own version of the Gingerbread Man. I have them do a rough draft and then when they are ready the students write the final copy on Gingerbread Man  lined paper. They loved making these little books of their original stories.  You can download this free activity by clicking on the picture.

Gingerbreadshapedwritingpaperandorganizer_Page_1

I hope you enjoy these activities!

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December Pick 3 Pinterest Party

Pick 3 Pinterest Party

I am linking up with some great bloggers to share 3 Pinterest ideas I am planning on doing this month in my classroom. There are so many activities that can be done in the classroom in December. It was hard to pick only 3. I teach 4th grade this year so I wanted to do something for older kids.

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reindeer artClick on Image to View Original Pin

I love this idea of reindeer portraits! I enjoy going to those painting parties and seeing how different all of our paintings are. I think the kids will enjoy following the easy directions and seeing how different each of their reindeer will be.

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P1020016Click on Image to View Original Pin

This is a fun way to study adjectives during Christmas. Everyone loves the Grinch. After they are done they write a story about their day with the Grinch. Can’t wait to try this!

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christmas brain breaksClick on Image to View Original Pin

Brain breaks are a necessity this time of the year. Rachel from Minds in Bloom has some great ideas for helping with getting through Christmas. I really love the Reindeer Game brain break. I will definitely have to try these ideas out the next couple of weeks.

I hope you found some great ideas. Make sure to check out all the other great blogs.

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