Thursday, July 24, 2014

Taming My File Cabinet Clutter and a Freebie

Hey teacher friends! It's Jessica from Covered in Glitter and Glue. I'm stopping by today to tell you about one of my my only summer project that I worked on for my classroom. I just couldn't find the motivation this year to do much more than that! 

I decided this summer to tame the beast that is my file cabinet. Or at least one of the drawers in my file cabinet. Let's not get too crazy. 

I wanted to move my monthly files to binders to help keep them organized and in control. In the past I would tend to find a copy of something I liked and stash it in the corresponding month's file, only to every year pull out the files a month at a time and recycle a bunch of things I didn't want or wouldn't use. In my mind, hole punching a paper and putting it in a binder is a lot more commitment to that paper, and it better be good to go through all that! 

Here are the supplies I used: 
-1/2 inch clear-view binders (one for each month of the school year)
-sheet protectors
-sticky labels (I don't know their fancy name)
-binder covers
-labels for the spines

I brought home the first half of the school year's files to begin with and whipped up some covers. Inside the binders I sorted the papers by theme (First Day of School, Back to School Night, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, etc.) and craftivities. The themed papers I put in the front with the labels dividing them. 

The craftivities I put in the back of the binder in individual sheet protectors. 

I used some Martha Stewart labels from Staples and typed the months on them to attach to the spines of the binder and called it a day. Because really...I have no patience for binder spines. Especially for 1/2 inch binders.

I'm pretty excited with how this project turned out. When I dropped off the binders at school I realized they take up half of the space in the file cabinet drawer than the files alone did! Wahoo! 

If you're interested in my monthly binder covers, you can snag them for FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store or by clicking the picture below. 

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Renovating & Updating

Hey everyone! It's Amanda from For His Glory! I know it has been a while since my last post, but I am super excited to be blogging again! My summer has been amazing, but I am starting to feel the "back-to-school" itch. Anyone else or am I crazy?? So if I haven't been blogging then what have I been doing? The hubby and I took a "late honeymoon" trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was super fun and way too short. We went snorkeling and hiking through the rainforest! I was able to practice my Spanish, but the hubby still had to "speak" for me on multiple occasions which was very difficult being a speech pathologist. :)

I have also been working on house updates before we head back to school! I gave my hubby a man cave makeover for his birthday and he loved it! Now, I'm working on updating my office.

I bought a new computer desk and I am now searching for the perfect desk chair! Any suggestions? I also gave my bookshelf a little makeover to match the decor in the office and give it a "cleaner" look. 



I put scrapbook paper around the books {a very inexpensive project} to help coordinate with the office! Super easy and definitely ties in my colors! My next project to tackling these cords. Check out our blog later this week to see my solution! 
Finally, I have been working on many TPT updates including my Welcome Back to Speech Bundle and Articulation Word Search Bundle.  Twice as many pages added to each bundle plus updated clipart and new fonts! 

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Measuring Up Some Fun!

Hey Ya'll!  It's Karen from An Apple a Day in First Grade.  I'm really enjoying my summer. Are you?  I can't help thinking about this time last week though.  The family and I were on a cruise in the Bahamas.  It was beautiful!  And we were spoiled greatly.  Didn't have to cook, clean, pick up dirty towels.  A true vacation indeed.  There was a coffee shop on board our cruise ship that sold Starbucks.  Yes, Starbucks!  We purchased 2 beverage packages to share and Starbucks was included in it.  Ya'll, I got my fix every single day, several times a day!  My oldest daughter got in on the deal as well.  Do you know how hard it is to go from that to absolutely NOTHING?!  Cruel.  Unfair.  Disappointing.  Back to Reality.
Back to reality indeed.  I finally mustered the courage to look at the calendar to see how many weeks I had left till I had to go back.  3.  Three little weeks left.  And we all know how fast they will go by!  So in thinking about this fresh new year, I want to share with you a quick, easy to prepare, and engaging math activity that your kiddos will absolutely love.  This past year we introduced measurement at the end of the year.  Measurement is one of those skills that you've just got to roll your sleeves up and dig in with.  It's truly hands on.  Now I don't know how your students were at the end of the year, but mine were squirmy indeed.  The less sitting and more moving we did was better for ALL of us!
After a quick review of some essential vocabulary (same size as, bigger than, smaller than), I gave each student a popsicle stick and a recording sheet.  Their job was simply to find and record things they found around the room that were the same size as, bigger than, and smaller than their popsicle stick.  Easy enough.  There was lots of buzzing going on amidst the group as they searched high and low.  After a sufficient amount of time, we met back on the carpet and shared our results and clarified any questions anybody may have had.  See, I told you it was easy peasy!

So when you sit down and start thinking about planning for next year, keep in mind this measuring activity.  Click here to download the recording sheet.
How are you spending your last few weeks of summer vacation?  I had my first bad dream about school last week  while on the cruise.  Do you have those?  I dreamt one of my teammates decided not to teach first grade and go work at the bowling alley instead.  Hmm, maybe that's not such a bad idea.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Throwback--with some Freebies!

This post is coming a little late in the day, but it's Sunday so were out early to church and then came home to just relax. {I posted this last summer when I was getting my classroom ready. I am using all of these in my classroom this year as well.}
Last summer, Ashley Hughes posted some brand new papers, called Rachel Papers. They were made especially for her, from However, I really think they were made for me!! These are the exact colors of my classroom!!! I was literally the first one to leave a comment--so I think I might have been the first one to buy it.  But anyways, I immediately got to work on my new classroom alphabet and word wall set.
I had bought these CTP dots back in June!! I had no idea what I was going to do with them. But then it hit me!! My Word Wall!

I printed, cut and glued my little heart out!!!

They came out awesome. Now I just need to laminate and hang them.  I can't get back in my room 'til August 5th and even then, we are not allowed to use the laminator. We have a designated person for that. So I will probably have to wait even longer to get these up--so sad :(

I also made a Chalkboard alphabet with the Chevron background. I don't have a lot of wall space, so I printed them 2 per page. (look at my dog--he was so excited that I was down on the floor working, he's not allowed anywhere my new couch! LOL!)

Ha, can you see my toes?  I had to stand on my dining room chair to get this shot!!

I also started on my next most favorite awesome project for the upcoming school year.  My co-worker this year had a "working folder" where she put all sorts of useful information into clear sleeves and then fastened them in a folder.  I took the concept and decided to cut and paste what I had onto file folders.  I made up a bunch of labels and printed them out. 
You can find them here Student Executive File-FREEBIE
My Student Executive Files
The alphabet chart is from Maria Manore at Kinder-Craze you can find the alphabet chart {HERE}-Free
The Digraphs and Blends on the right  are from Lacey at Wild About Teaching. Find it {HERE}-Free
The long deskplate with more digraphs and vowel teams is from the Clever Classroom. Find it {HERE} 
I also added a blend deskplate to the back that I forgot I bought, also from the Clever Classroom. You can find that {HERE}
The 3 Daily 5 signs down the center are from Lori from Teaching with Love and Laughter. What I did was print the 3 pages to 1 page by changing my printer settings.  I will probably also use them at their normal size so the class will have a reference for their file.  You can find her Daily 5 Goodies {Here}-Free.
I have a new product out as well, that is having a Flash Freebie as you read this today.  Head on over and grab it before the day is done! I will be back to full price tomorrow.  Newsletters for All Seasons   is an editable file. It has 12 different templates with a variety of seasonal/monthly graphics. If you are able to get this for free please leave some love in the feedback and comments below. I hope you can use these great items in your classroom this year!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer FAVS!

Hey Friends! I hope you all are enjoying your summer!! My brain is not quite into "back to school" mode I thought I would post about some of my summer favorites!! :)

BUT. Before I do that, I would love to introduce you to the newest blogger in our Collaboration Connection crew!! Jessica from The Teacher Talk is officially on our team! We are so excited to have her. By the way...she is having a fabulous *giveaway* on her blog right now!! I may have donated an item ;) Check it out!

OKAY..if you are like me..summer is going just way. too. fast. I have and still am thoroughly enjoying it! Here are a few of the things that are getting a lot of extra love from me this summer!
1. My iPad!! I have so much more time to check all my favorite blogs! And YES I have read all of those Vegas posts... :( next year! p.s. don't you just LOVE our new blog design!! 
2. Yep. My tennis shoes. I have been hitting the gym a LOT this well as completely changing my eating habits! The Mr. and I decided the summer was the perfect time to start making some changes...I am nervous for school to start, but I know with some dedication I can keep it up!
3. Creating!! I have so many things on my to-do list in this area..but I am almost done with a few projects I have been working on! I am happy for the extra time summer has given me! Don't you just loooove melonheadz?! I sure do!
4. My planner!! Well, duh, I ALWAYS have my planner! I got a new one a few weeks ago, and I just sat down last night to start filling it in! ahhh love it!!
5. And of course..INSTAGRAM. Duh, it is an *all the time* fav..but I love being able to scroll through my news feed at any hour of the day! Love those insta-teachers!!

What are your summer favs?! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Back to School Style! (gasp!)

Good morning, friends!! It's Ashley here - Ashley who is STILL on an OMG high from an incredible week in Vegas!! -  from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd!

I'm dropping by quickly today to share with all of our Collaboration Connection followers a SUPER fun linky party hosted by my sweet friend, Miss Decarbo at Sugar and Spice!!

It's called Wordless Wednesday! SO after you stick around to comment on my Wordless Wednesday post question, make sure you head to Miss Decarbo's blog to link up with us!! :)

SOOOO now that I'm back from Vegas - it's full steam ahead into BACK TO SCHOOL mode!! Yesterday I started my FAVORITE back to school to-do - putting calendar dates in my planner for the new school year!!! Soooo here's my Wordless (or not SO wordless) Wednesday question to you. . .

Leave a comment below and then head to Miss Decarbo's blog to join us!! :) It's my favorite linky of the week!! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daily 5 Math

We are all in summer mode, but let's be honest... we all know that we have thought about next year, maybe ordered supplies, or created To-Do lists. As much as I don't want to, I have been thinking about how I would like to work on my math workshop for next year. All throughout my school, the workshop model is implemented. Our students are at a variety of levels, therefore differentiation is imperative. With that in mind... let's look at how I utilize Math Workhop!

Math workhshop in my first grade classroom is set up like the Daily 5. We have Math with the Teacher, Math by Myself, Math with Someone, Write about Math, and Math with Technology. The students rotate through these during their one hour math block. To begin, I give a pretest to determine my groups. From there, I group the students based on need and content area. I meet with each group for 15 minutes, and provide them with differentiated instruction. When they come to math with the teacher, no lesson looks the same. This takes a lot of planning, but I know I'm meeting the needs of each learner. While I'm meeting, the students rotate through a variety of centers. Take a look... 

Math by Myself - during this rotation, the students are expected to sit at their seats and works silently. This independent work usually comes from the Everyday Math workbook, worksheets, or individual projects. The students are held accountable for their work by turning it all in on Friday. 

This shows an example checklist that I make for each student. It shows their rotations for the week. They have gotten in a great habit of checking things off as they go. All the papers they need for the week are stapled there in one place! 
Each student has a math folder to keep their materials organized. 
Folders and iPads are kept in a central location. 

Math with Someone - during this rotation, students work with a partner. Somteimes I assign them, and sometimes I let them choose their own. The activities that they work on are usually task cards. However, there are times when they will get to play a game, or choose a math center. The expectation is that they produce quality partner work and use 6 inch voices to ensure those around them can concentrate. 

Students work together to figure out task card problems! 

These centers stay the same all year. This is a great "go-to" in case of early finishers! 

Write about Math - I knew that I needed to incorporate writing in math as much as I could. My students are young and they are only going to benefit from this practice early on. Thankfully, I found this AMAZING resource that I use to help my students grow in this. Go check it out HERE! 

Math with Technology - this is probably one of the student favorites! I have 7 iPads in my room! At the beginning of the year, I found a variety of free apps that the students would love. In addition, we installed IXL. Typically, this is what the students complete during the technology rotation. Every once and awhile, I will let them choose a math game. My biggest advice with this is that you have to monitor them closely, and set the expectations early on. If any of their graded centers are not completed, they are not allowed to use the iPad. 

We LOVE QR codes in math! 
 Next year, I would like to try and make my math block longer and incorproate mini lessons. This is one of the pieces that my math workshop is missing. Right now, we use math talks, MARS tasks, and reengagement lessons, but use the whole block. If I could find 15 minutes to spare (good luck, right?) I'd like to add that component. 

Here are some products that will help you get started with Math Workshop!