Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What Would You Do...with this?

Teachers everywhere are getting great ideas for their classrooms from Pinterest and blogs and finding great supplies from places like The Dollar Store and Target.  As you're out and about, do you ever buy something thinking "What can this be used for in my classroom?"  

I do!  Then it's like a game to see what creative use I can come up with.  But I got to thinking...2 heads are better than 1 and others might have an even BETTER idea than me. Then I got to thinking some more...others might be finding some interesting things that I could go out and get too!

So this is going to be my first foray into a linky party!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Made It Monday!

I worked on 2 things last week:


I found this short vowel practice idea on Pinterest and took it a bit further, turning it into a game.  I don't have a name for it yet, so I'd love some ideas.


I went to Lowe's and stocked up on paint samples to make it.
I would start by using this game in small reading groups and adding a vowel to it each week as our HM series progresses.  Blends & digraphs come in around January, so I'd add those then.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5 Things I Can't Live Without

This is from Kelley at the Teacher Idea Factory and it's fun seeing what different teachers can't live without.  Many things would make my list too, but there were a few JEMS in there that I didn't know about that I decided I had to have (um, Talk Point mini recorders....just got 3 on eBay!).

So here's my list:

1) My iPhone

* Pandora (love playing the George Winston, Jazz and Antonio Vivaldi stations)
* iTalk (I record and save all my student's running records)
* Timer (for timed math tests)
* Joann Fabrics app (for all the COUPONS!)
* Camera Pro Plus (for taking cute pictures)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Outer Space Themed Classroom

I love the colors black, red & white.
Kids think Outer Space is cool.
Two good reasons to go with an Outer Space themed classroom!

Last year was the first year I tried it and didn't do a whole lot of decorating, but now that I've joined Pinterest (yep, took the plunge) I'm finding lots of cute ideas and am excited to get into my room and start setting up!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Made it Monday!

I've been busy this weekend making things for my Outer Space themed classroom...which I will hopefully get to start setting up and decorating in a week because Max is due shortly thereafter!

This is for my "team captain" item for each
table grouping.
It's supposed to resemble a space ship.

Move it Mondays

This cute idea comes from a blog called Teacher Idea Factory. She posts great little ideas for how to get your kiddos moving during the day so they don't lose focus or when they start to lose focus. This week she's inviting others to contribute, so here goes:

My moving activity is a team scavenger hunt.  
You hide 3-4 different kinds of die cuts around the room (while their heads are down and they're listening to music). Then 1 kiddo per team gets up to start "hunting" for the hidden items. Kids can only find and take 1 thing at a time and then they "tag" the next person on their team. This keeps going and going until you think most items have been found.  

Then, if you want to extend the activity, you can graph the results and discuss. Then, if you want to KEEP going, you can have kids tally/add points/total money for the things they found. 

I usually use this activity around special theme times
(i.e.  fall, Thanksgiving, 50's day, winter, etc.).
I used this activity once when I was being formally observed by my principal and she loved it!

Take a peek at a Back-to-School Scavenger Hunt I put together by clicking here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Look Where I Was Caught Reading!

This super cute idea is from Tori's Teacher Tips!
Here's where Max (due in 5 weeks) and I were caught reading: 

The Fountain at the Loussac Library

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Target Finds

One of the best things Target ever did was to create the Dollar Bins that lure everyone in the store to load up their carts and baskets with cheap little things that they may or may not need or use. 


I bet the people who benefit most from the Dollar Bins are TEACHERS.  We're resourceful, creative and frugal....and the Dollar Bins help us create amazing classrooms with tons of fun stuff! 

So I finally decided to check out our local Targets to see what goodies they had stocked up on.  We recently got back to Alaska from our annual month-long vacation in Minnesota (where I'm from) and their Target stores hadn't yet been invaded by school supplies.  

Here is what I've picked up...so far:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's All About the Little Things

This is my motto.  As any teacher does, I work extremely hard and love what I do.  But it’s so important to remember to take care of yourself and treat yourself.  Vacations are our #1 way of doing that, but it’s also about doing little things everyday to make sure you’re happy and healthy.  
A sign I bought at Northwoods Confections in Duluth, MN.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Made it Monday!

A friend of mine told me about a blog called 4th Grade Frolics that has a cool sharing forum on Mondays only. If you've made something recently, you can link from the blog to your blog or website (if you don't have either, it says you can e-mail the blogger). There are TONS of cool ideas and it's a great way to discover other teaching bloggers! My intention was to be up at the crack of dawn (AK time of course) to post a link to my Word Stretcher creation...but I ended up surfing, painting, getting ready, etc. and didn't do it until lunch time, so my contribution is #120.  I can't wait to check all these ideas out and you should too!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Word Stretchers

For the past 13 summers I've happily gone to Lakeshore Learning, in St. Louis Park, MN, to spend my hard-earned money on things I and my classroom have needed.  Over the years, I've spent less money there because I felt confident of the things I had in my classroom and didn't need as much new stuff.  Since I moved up to Alaska 8 years ago, this is my yearly pilgrimage and I keep a running list all year of the things I'm going to look for.  But of course I get in there and it's overload because there is SO much stuff to look at and drool over.  I stick to my list (and my budget) and get the things I need (stickers, borders, etc.).  But I always find something, usually a game, that I must have!  I make a lot of my reading and math games, so when I find something it's really a treasure.  This summer I found two things.  One was a short vowel sorting box game and the other was something called Word Stretchers.  Three thoughts crossed my mind upon picking up the Word Stretchers box: #1. AIMSWeb....phonemic segmenting task, #2. I could totally make that, #3  What a simple idea that somebody came up with and is now making tons of money on!  So I decided to make some word stretchers that I can use in small reading and RTI groups to help kiddos differentiate (aurally and visually) all the sounds in a word. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get This Party Started

     You've got to turn on your inner radio and hear Pink's "Get This Party Started" to understand the title of this post.  I started this blog a month ago and haven't done much.  I've wanted to do more but am still trying to figure out how this all works.  Plus, it's summer vacation and I'm 33 weeks pregnant....so I'm finding lots of other things to distract me (i.e. trying to visit all my friends and family in Minnesota during a month-long vacation, trying to waddle my way up and down stairs while Max's head is enjoying laying on my bladder, etc.).