Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Made it: New Library Additions!

I am linking up with 4th grade Frolics for another Monday made it!

This week I am sharing some new additions to my classroom library!

First up, my new chapter book shelves!

I recently finished the classes to get my gifted endorsement, and have needed some higher-leveled books for my library for those kiddos who go beyond first grade reading levels. Enter: Scholastic Reading club! I had been saving points for ages and had enough to get a ton of chapter books at the end of the year. Unfortunately, I didn't have anywhere to put them... until now!

I got two of these black media shelves at Wal-mart (only $10 each!), but wanted something prettier. I found some turquoise contact paper and covered the inside of the shelves.

I was a bit scared at first, I have never worked with contact paper before and I was worried about messing it up. It was way easier than I thought it would be!

The only problem I ran into was when I went to put the shelves back in. It was such a tight fit that it tore the contact paper in a couple of spots. Luckily, I was able to patch them with leftover scraps of contact paper. Once they were pressed down, I could hardly tell where they were!

I added some green polka dot washi tape around the edges to finish it off. I am so in love with the results!

My plan is to have them on either side of a bench in the library. It is going to be called the "book nook." :)

Next up, a small (and awesome!) project that makes my organizational heart happy... color-coded book labels.

I started with some Avery labels and printed them with a solid color. They are rather long, so I am thinking I will be able to cut them into two or three strips each.

The colors may seem a bit random, but here is where the awesomeness comes in... they coordinate with our media center's lexile labeling system!!

I am going to start using them on the chapter books first, and may expand to the rest of the library if I like the results.

Once the kiddos take their Lexile test, they will know which color they should be picking from for a good fit book.

My next project is made entirely of materials that I found leftover from last year's crafting supplies!

I was going through my stash well-organized crafting supplies when I found these two wooden shadowbox frames.

I peeled the labels off, but was unable to get the corners off. I don't know what kind of adhesive they used to stick them on, but it would not be removed!

So, naturally I just came up with a way to cover them!

I painted the frames blue and glued some green felt on the inside to cover the label remnants. I am apparently incapable of cutting felt in a straight line, so I added the pink ribbon to cover the sides.

Voila! They are done and ready to be hung above the chapter book shelves. One will be the display of the lexile color labels, and the other is for the chapter book club. Once the kids are ready for chapter books, their name will go on the sign and they will be able to pick books from the chapter book shelves.

Next, I wanted a way for the kids to know where to put their books back without using bins. I decided to use place marker sticks.

I got some 6 inch paint stirrers and painted them blue, green, or pink. Maggie was kind enough to supervise and was well-behaved enough not to touch! She must not have gotten over that time she got paint on her and I had to chase her around the apartment with a wet washcloth... :)

(here's a quick tip- paint on tin foil for a nonstick surface that is easy to clean up!)

They looked a bit boring, so I added some polka dot washi tape and white circle labels. Once they are in the chapter book club, they will pick a stick that their cubby number go on.

They will leave the stick in place of their chapter book on the shelf so that they will know where to put their book back when they are done.

That's it for this Monday Made it, it was a busy week! Make sure to let me know what you think in the comments and remember to check out all of the other awesome made-its at 4th Grade Frolics!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Made it: Lightbox Organization and a freebie

During the school year, Mondays are my absolute least favorite days, not so during the summer! I love summer Mondays because they mean I am linking up with 4th grade frolics for Monday made it!

This week, I am focused on my new Heidi Swapp lightbox!

I absolutely adore this lightbox and am already having so much fun with it, but I did run into a snag: keeping the letter/icon inserts organized.

I want to be able to find what I need relatively quickly, so digging through a box to find the letters I need is just not going to cut it. Then I had an idea...

Enter: the lightbox insert binder!

I started with these photo/coupon pocket pages that are made for 3-ring binders and a 1.5 inch binder.

Each letter has its own pocket. Right now, I have two different kinds of letters in the same pocket, but I may change that in the future. I also split up the icons into categories (smiley emojis, clothing, food, etc.)

The washi tape doesn't serve a purpose other than fancying it up a bit. :)

Here's where the freebie comes in- I made binder covers and spines (for 1 inch, 1.5 inch, and 2 inch binders) in 10 different colors! You can grab your freebie here.

That's it for this made-it. I'm already working on some fun and colorful projects for next week... I think they are going to be really cute!

Let me know what you think in the comments and make sure to check out all of the other awesome made-its at 4th grade frolics!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Five for Friday: June 17

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

Beach days, shopping, tutoring, and more! This has been a really great week to really start summer vacation.

This is my first full week of summer vacation! YAY!

I spent some quality reading time at the beach this week. I am not usually a beach person; I really dislike the feeling of sand and I am not a huge fan of being out in the sun, but I am trying to get out a bit more.

It turned out to be a good beach day (for me), as it wasn't too sunny. I was able to get through the first few chapters of the Morning Meeting Book. Our school is moving towards a responsive classroom system for next year, so I figured I would get a head start on the reading this summer. Still not too sure how I feel about getting rid of my color chart for behavior management, but I guess we'll see how it goes...

I love going to Michael's. I love seeing all of the new stuff and getting inspired by all of the awesome crafting supplies. I worked there for 10 years, so I love going in to see the people who still work there that I have known since high school and college.

This week, I came across this:

If you are on Instagram, you have probably seen these Heidi Swapp lightboxes all over the place. They seem to be the big teacher trend this summer! I tried to resist, but at 40% off with an extra 15% off for the teacher discount... I gave in!

I am so excited about this purchase! I even talked my pod-mate into getting one! She came up with the brilliant idea of having Dot (our classroom elf) use it when she comes to visit us in December. I can see Dot having a lot of fun with it. :)

This purchase actually inspired me to work on an unplanned Monday Made it for next week. Stay tuned to see how I organize the lightbox inserts!

This is the first summer that I have offered tutoring services. I just started with a child who will be going into first grade next year. She knows all of her letters and sounds, but is having a hard time with blending.

(I wasn't going to spend our time taking pictures, so you will need to pretend that they are at a picnic table by the pool and not from my classroom.) :)

After assessing her strengths and areas where she needs extra help, we started with some word-building activities.

I had her pick a puzzle that she wanted to build, then we said the letter sounds as we added the letters, and blended the word when we finished.

She needed a lot of short activities to help keep her focused, so we also tried blending with these linking cards.

I am working on getting some new activities ready for when we work together again next week. I am thinking we are going to add some sight word practice in as well.

I am really pleased with what I have accomplished since school let out last week. A few months ago, I started writing differentiated nonfiction units about animals to use with my kiddos who needed enrichment in reading.

(naturally I had to start with flamingos!)

They had a lot of fun this year picking the animals they wanted to learn about.

Then I was thinking that I want them to have the opportunity to work on topics other than animals, so I started to write some units about seasonal topics.

I was able to finish the fall bundle this week. It includes the topics: apples, pumpkins, corn, sunflowers, and bats.

Now that I finished the fall bundle, I am ready to jump into winter! :)

This has been a very busy week for Maggie too!

One of the perks of being a teacher's cat is an unlimited supply of laminating scraps! This silly cat LOVES to play with laminating scraps while I am cutting things out.

Unfortunately for me, that was not the end of Maggie's adventures. I may sound like a proud kitty mama here, but my Maggie is very clever! Normally, this is not a problem. However, this week she really upped her game.

She has always been able to get into the bathroom and kitchen cupboards. If I can't find her under the covers on the bed, in her house, or on the sofa, I know that she is in a cupboard. The one cupboard that was always safe was the one in my dresser where I keep my sweaters. I can't say that anymore!

Maggie now knows how to open the sweater cupboard! It's official: nowhere in my apartment is safe from the beast!

Well, that's it for this Five for Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Made it- Classroom Store Part 1

Today is the first Monday of summer vacation and I am so thrilled to be linking up with 4th grade frolics for my first Monday made it of the summer!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post about flamingo bucks. My pod-mate and I are both going to be starting to use a classroom money system next year.

We are going to be switching classes for social studies and science. I will be teaching the social studies for both classes and she will be teaching the science. We wanted something that we could both use that would be consistent between both classrooms, so we will be using beach/flamingo bucks!

If there is one thing I love, it is a good theme, so... I am creating a storefront for the Flamingo Bucks Boutique (how cute is that name?!). The storefront itself will be a made-it for later this summer, I just need to work myself up to the effort I know will be needed for the construction...

In the meantime, I have started working on some of the accessories for the shop.

First up, the wallets! I used colored cardstock with some labels I made on the computer.

Once they were laminated, I folded them in half, stapled, and taped down the sides.

Then, I added two Velcro dots on the inside to keep the flamingo bucks from falling out.

I made them in a variety of colors so the kiddos can pick which one they want.

Next, the store signage. I made this two sided open/closed sign that will be hung on the front of the store.

The student who is the cashier for the week will flip the sign when they are ready for people to shop.

A few years ago, I had a warm fuzzy store in my classroom and one of the things that I found really helped with the management was a shopping schedule. I have the students shop as soon as they are unpacked in the morning, but I don't want everyone shopping at once.

With this schedule, the kids know which day their table will be shopping.

I used Velcro dots so I can change the order each week.

On to the shopping baskets! I am especially in love with these.

I used the mini plastic tubs from the Dollar Tree, added some ribbon for handles (also from the Dollar tree), and stuck some labels on the front (gotta have that branding!).

(even Maggie approves) :)

Total project cost: $3.00!

I made sure to print enough labels to have a couple to add to the cash register that I will be getting later this summer. :)

Last up, my new geoblock center. I made this a couple of weeks ago, but am super excited about it, so I just had to share it now! My kiddos are always really excited when we first start out unit on 3D shapes at the end of the year. Excitement tends to turn to boredom when they realize that it is all about describing shapes and matching footprints. So, to up the engagement level, I made these geoblock structure cards.

The kids seemed really excited to try them, so I left them out at the center let them go for it. They ended up having so much fun! Some of them chose to work on a card together, others preferred to work alone. If they didn't have the same block as the picture, they tried different blocks until they made the same shape. A few kiddos even decided to add on to the structures to make them bigger or taller.

Definitely going to be bringing these out again next year!

Well, that's it for my made-its this week. I'm off to a couple training/work days of writing gifted extensions for the district.

Thanks for stopping by!