Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Attention all teachers!

Tonya's Treats for Teaching is having a huge giveaway {here}. The great thing about it is that you can get first, second or third place AND you get to choose your prize. For example, for first place you can choose from four different gift cards.

Click the picture to get to the giveaway!

Monday, August 27, 2012

"Our School is Awesome"

A friend of mine just posted a link to a video on facebook featuring kiddos from a DC school. Take three minutes of your day to watch this rap that the students created and your day will be made!

"Proficiency doesn't happen mysteriously; we take math and reading very seriously; like a dinosaur we study hard core; when we step through the door we get challenged some more!"

I can't get the song out of my head now.. it makes me smile!

I want to show my fourth graders this video tomorrow. I think it's a great way to start the year. I love when teachers include songs and raps in their teaching. It's a little unconventional, but so incredibly powerful.

Monday Made It #1

This is my first Monday Made It! I have been loving this blog series, thanks to Tara at 4th Grade Frolics. I am just so inspired by everyone's DIY projects.

This past week, I went to the dollar store and grabbed three "document" frames, which were standard paper size 8 1/2 x 11 in.

I spray painted the frames this cute lime green color to go with the rest of my pink/green room. Since the frames were a weird cheap wood, the spray paint didn't take perfectly the first time, but it looked kind of rustic and intentional, so I never did a second coat.

My fiance says I spray paint wrong because I'm just having a spray party getting spray paint all over. But that doesn't matter because I had fun and they turned out great IMO :)

Then I just hot glued some ribbon onto the top of the frames so that I could hang them off of some command hooks on my wall.

Here's how they turned out!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School Books

Back to school is a magical time in the classroom. I just love all the great read alouds that tie into the themes we teach at this time of year. There are so many great ideas for books to read at the beginning of the year for all grades. This is my all-time favorite read-aloud book for the first week of school for fourth grade.

Photo from Amazon.com

You can find The Name Jar HERE.

I use this book as a jumping off point for my name unit, which is the first unit I teach in Language Arts. Students research the meaning of their name, we make name glyphs and it leads to a lot of great discussions.

For this unit, I go to my local library and check out a ton of baby name books so that my kiddos can start researching. Researching is one of the strands we teach in fourth grade and there's nothing more motivating to research than your own self!

The Name Jar is beyond great in helping introduce making text-to-self, text-to-text and text-to-world connections. The kiddos can really relate to Unhei, especially during the first week of school.

I have a packet of activities in my store for this unit! You can check it out {here} if you're interested in pre-reading, during reading and post-reading activities such as vocabulary work, discussion questions, writing prompts, an expository writing project and much more!

What are your favorite read aloud books for this time of year? Link up to the Back to School Books linky party and you could win $50 to the Clever School Teacher.

Class Schedule Printable

For those of you gearing up for the new school year, I've made a set of printable classroom schedule cards and posted them in my TpT store. They are perfect for a classroom display at the start of the year.

I use these in my class with a magnet on the back of each laminated strip. They're displayed on my board. See them towards the right there?

The schedule is a job in my classroom, so a student is in charge of changing the schedule daily. This helps the students know what's happening and at the beginning of the year, it's how I remember what we're doing!

I've tried to include all classes I could think of for all elementary schools, but I'm constantly adding strips, so let me know if there's anything you'd like me to add!

Check out my TpT store here.
Fourth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Class Dojo

Ok, so school starts for us on Monday! I am tweaking my classroom management system this year and something that I thought looked fun when I saw it was Class Dojo. If you want to visit the website to see for yourself, click here: www.classdojo.com

What it is-
Class Dojo is a FREE website that you can sign up for as a teacher. It is geared towards classroom management. You sign each of your students up and assign them an avatar. When students do something good, they get an award, which equates to 1 point. You can give awards for whatever you want, but the categories they have defaulted were cooperation, participation, etc. You can also take away points for misbehaviors and the site tracks each students' net point value.

But that's not the best part about it. You can add it to your smart phone or iPad so that you can add points wirelessly. Super cool! You can display the website on your projector and then update the points on the projector, computer or any handheld device (like a smart phone).

How I'm going to use it it in my classroom-
I just think this is the coolest thing. I can be sitting at my guided reading table doing a lesson with a small group while giving points to students and if I have my smart board displaying the website, students will see that they're getting or losing points. It also has sound notifications that it plays when a student receives a point, but I don't know if I'll keep that enabled or not.

I am going to give each student a generic avatar at the beginning and tell them when they achieve 30 points, they will get to pick their avatar. I also want to print out their chosen avatar and put it on their nametag as an additional reward.

This system will play into my ticket system. At the end of the month, I will distribute 1 ticket for each point each student has retained throughout the month. I will set up 2 or 3 raffles that they can put their tickets in. They'll be able to win books, fun school supplies, etc. And I will pull one ticket out of each raffle. If you want to do this in your own classroom, a roll of tickets at Target is only $6.84.

Have any other teachers used this system in their classroom?

Long time blog addict, first time blogger

Last year was my first year teaching and I wanted to start a blog, but never got around to it. This year I'm in my second year of teaching at the same school, in the same grade and I wanted to kick off the new school year by starting this blog. The kiddos start on Monday! If anyone has any tips for a newbie, let me know :)