Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bucket of Positivity for the First Day!

Well it is officially the first day of school tomorrow! I've been planning ALL month.. and for some reason I still feel like I'm not ready for the first day! How is that even possible? Regardless, I am excited! I got to meet quite a few cuties at our Meet the Teacher on Friday. It's adorable how shy they are!

So with the first day coming up, I decided to make my 2nd grade team some Buckets of Positivity! We've been hit hard with lots of trainings and data discussions this past week, and I know we could use a pick me up. Everyone is feeling the pressure this year and isn't quite sure how we're going to get them where we're being told they need to be by the end of the year.


A closer peek inside:

The pink card says:

Bucket of Positivity
*to help with the first week!*

Pencils to write encouraging words
Stickers that sing your praises
Fish to 'hook' great ideas
Kit kats to remind yourself to take a break
Hugs to remember you are LOVED!

Have a great first week!!

I cannot wait to give them out tomorrow! I also found some other cutsie things like the plastic microphone that opens into a bubble wand! Too cool! I am definitely going to use this for my fluency friday I plan on doing this year! :)

Hope y'all have a great Monday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Classroom Economy

A few weeks ago I had posted a Monday Made It about my classroom economy helping hands board. I had quite a  bit of interest in what I do, so I have finally gotten this post worked out... AND A 30+ PAGE FILE FOR FREE FROM TPT WITH EVERYTHING YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ ABOUT! :)

So here goes. How I do a classroom economy in my 2nd grade room!

In my room, each student gets a job. I have a list of 25 so far that I use for my classroom. I have the jobs displayed on my helping hands board.

Each hand has velcro on the back, so when students change jobs every 2-3 weeks, I can easily move their number! I am really excited about using this this year. The colored background is just scrapbooking paper that I cut up into 4in x 6 in rectangles. That way a 12in x 12in piece of paper gave my 6 equal rectangles. Then I glued on the job name and clipart, laminated it, put velcro on, and then adhered the numbered hand!

Now for my students to get a job, I have them fill out a job application. I have two different versions that I've used.

This one I use currently for my 2nd graders.
This is one I used with my 5th graders.

At the beginning of the year I go through each job and we talk about what the duties are. I'll show them my ring of jobs, and flip through them all so they can visually see what that job's duties are.

When they begin their application, I model and do an example application at the beginning of the year to make sure my students fill them out with COMPLETE sentences and SPECIFIC reasons for why they want their job. Each job they've chosen needs a good reason for why I should hire them for the job. For example:

1. Veterinarian
2. Tax Collector
3. Operator

1. I want this job because I am responsible and help take care of my dog at home.
2. I want this job because I am good at math and wouldn't let anyone forget to pay their fines!
3. I want this job because I am polite and know how to answer a phone.

You'll be amazed at the creative responses students will give! I make sure to let my students know that neat applications with fabulous reasons will always persuade me to give them their first choice. We also talk about how behavior in class can affect getting their dream job as well. If they're not respectful, then how can I trust them to take care of our class pet?

Another thing we discuss is that sometimes a student might not get any of their choices. We do some role playing on how to act if that were to happen, and I let them know that if they are a good sport I will make sure they get one of their choices next time!

What if a student is irresponsible and doesn't do their job? Well, I fire them! I tell them all the time that if they can't do the duties of their job, then I will give it to someone who can. Just like what happens in the real world!

What if a student doesn't want a job? So far I've only had one student in my years of teaching refuse a job. I let him be unemployed. I wasn't about to pressure him into a job if I knew I would just end of firing him from it. By the next job cycle though, he had noticed the extra money other students were getting and wanted to apply. If he hadn't I would have sat down and discussed what it was that made him not want to have a job.

So I keep talking about money! Well YES! My students earn money for everything they do! Participating, trying their best, helping another out without being asked, just sitting their quietly, ANYTHING! It's amazing what the other students will do when they see me paying their friends for good behavior. And the great thing, I don't even need to break stride from my lesson.

When the year starts, I always have students design our classroom money. We then take a vote on which is our favorite, and that is the design I will copy for the year. I love that it is student-made and different each year! Here are some examples from the past few years:
I always make 1's, 5's, and 10's for kids. It's such a great way for them to practice skip counting and the real world skill of counting money!

To help kids keep track of their money, I usually give them an envelope. My coworker actually sewed little wallets! Super cute! And in past years with my 5th graders we all did a little origami, and folded our own wallets out of construction paper. I used the instructions found here on youtube.

Now students don't just earn money, they can lose it too!

During the first few weeks of school we decide on taxes and bonuses. Taxes are where students owe the teacher money, and bonuses are how they can earn extra money throughout the day. Here are some posters on what we came up with last year:

I also have students give out possible dollar amounts for each item they come up with, and they vote on how much that particular tax or bonus should be.  Although.. the teacher always receives the right to veto something outrageous! I feel like students have more ownership this way.

To make it easy to track student's taxes, I place a tax card on their desk. Each tally is worth $5. If they commit an offense that is on the tax chart like talking out, I can quietly without breaking the lesson, make one tally mark. The students realizes what they've done and hopefully corrects it. If not, I have no problem tallying them again. And again. And again if necessary. I've done it!!

Students pay their taxes/fines at the end of every school day. You could have them do it once a week if you choose. One of our classroom jobs is a tax collector. At the end of the day they go around checking how students added up the tallies and making sure all taxes are paid. They will put a star next to the day it is to show that student has paid. If a student cannot pay I usually do a lunch detention, or recess loss, or working their debt off. Whatever the situation entails. Sometimes other students will loan them money.. super cute!

Here's an example:

Everyday at recess, I allow students to bring their money out and buy something. I have items for $50 $75 and $100. I try to create things for students to buy that won't cost me a lot of money.

Students LOVE LOVE LOVE buying things off our posters! It's amazing how much they enjoy lunch with the teacher, or buying a pillow for the day! The really sweet thing is when they start to share money and buy things like special lunch together! It's adorable that they are willing to put their money together and work as a team.

Since I've been in 2nd grade, I haven't done too much besides what I mentioned above. Some things I did do when I taught 5th grade to take the economy to the next step:
  • Wrote checks for students for doing their jobs.
  • Had a banker stamp and enter checks onto a spread sheet. They would add it to student's previous balances and write them a receipt for their current account balance.
  • Students cashing checks would sign their check on the back in cursive.
  • A cashier would open the store every month or so. They had a cash register they used to ring up items. 
  • Students buying items would have to figure out if they had enough to spend on what they wanted. They would then have to write a check in cursive for the amount they spent. They would then subtract it from their bank receipt to see how much they had left.
  • Students were also charged rent for their desks and had disaster strikes to their desks. I'm thinking insurance could be fun to have them buy too so if disaster strikes, insurance helpers could help them fix it up.
  • I've read on Beth Newingham's about a class economist. They analyze what's being bought at the store and create graphs about it. Sounded cool! I've gotten a lot of my ideas from her, so if you are interested in more, definitely check her site out above!!!
Are you interested in a classroom economy after all this?!?! Well I promise a 30+ page file with all that you saw above for FREE!

Please let me know what you think :) I hope y'all find it helpful. If I could give anyone advice, it would be to start a classroom economy! It's the most amazing management I have every found and teaches such great real world skills!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Made It - And probably the last :(

First off, can I just tell you that I have been waking up at 5am for the past 2 weeks to do bootcamp at 5:30am?!?! I cannot believe I have already been going for about 2 months. I definitely feel stronger, and happier! Hoping to keep it up during school- and I'm pretty sure I'll be cutting it close, but I think I can keep up the morning workouts. It's so nice to get off of school and not feel guilty about not wanting to workout after a long crazy day. It's great to get it out of the way first thing in the morning! Not to mention getting that metabolism going and feel energized (until around 10am... haha, but that's what coffee is for!!)

Annnnnnd school is literally just around the corner! We started back and are having our staff meeting this week. Students come next Monday. Got to see our new admin team in action though and it was an enjoyable time! They definitely have a great sense of humor and really seem to have attainable goals for us this year. I mean, our principal alone hosts Harley get togethers with bikers- cool right? :)

I've been busy working really hard in my room, but I'm planning on posting about how it looks a little later. Today I made some last minute projects and cannot wait to share!

First up are my TPO (or objective) boards. I hot glued (ummm my NEW favorite thing BTW) magnets on the back so that they stick to my board. That way I can take them with me wherever I am introducing the objective, and then post them back on the wall. I ran out of magnets today otherwise you'd see science and social studies too!
My lovely coworker has a cricut and graciously brought it to school with her. I love the letters on the boards! And can I tell you how mesmerized I was watching it cut the letters? Coolest thing ever.

Next up are my chair pockets inspired by Ladybug Teacher Files.

Inside each pocket I am planning on putting a white board, marker, and testing folder. Any suggestions on what else they might need right on hand? I'm thinking math manipulatives that change throughout the year.

So far the velcro seems to be working great in keeping the pocket adhered to the chair. I'm thinking I may put a velcro on the top and bottom instead of one long strip.  I noticed today that my pocket was bulging out since I pulled out the middle seam to make 1 big pocket instead of 2.

I've shown my ready to learn clipchart before, but I hot glued my safari hats onto the clips this week. Loving the cuteness.

I have been wanting to make dice shakers for awhile, and after reading Amanda's post @ Teaching Maddeness about hers, I KNEW I had to make it happen. So off to Target I went to get those awesome magnet containers. (You can also see my duct tape Boggle board hanging up too!)
I too hot glued felt along the bottom and the side of the container. Then I popped in some dice and hung 2 on my board to see how they worked. I LOVE them. I make everyone come into my room to see them!  Cannot wait to use them during mathstations.

So I'm sure you've all seen the picture frames all over pinterest about the first day of school. I finally did mine! I got a 16x20in frame from Hobby Lobby (40% off of course), painted it black, and then velcroed on the letters. That way I can move them if I need to AND I can remove the FIR in First to change it to LAST for the end of school. Awesome right? I'm in LOVE with this project.
To create the letters I used the font Janda Manatee Bubble and printed them out on scrapbook paper.

I just did this 5 minutes ago, and it has to be one of my favorite projects yet! I've seen this on pinterest and have had it on my to do list. After visiting my coworker's room today I saw these up by her door AND bathroom door!

She's planning on having them slap it in order to leave the room or use the restroom. What a great idea! Now I'm thinking of making one for the hallways that I hold on to so that when entering specials or lunch, they have to do the same thing. Just need some more scrapbook paper! :)

For the hand, I used my my helping hands clipart and just enlarged it. Snag it below if you are interested!
Coming up this week: Classroom Tour and a HUGE 30+ page freebie about my classroom economy equip with job applications, job cards, job descriptions, tickets, money, fine card, etc!!! Happy Monday everyone! :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Classroom Library Organized!!

Soo as you know, I had to move rooms last week. Luckily, it's not turning out to be as bad as I thought! I actually like this new room better. ANNND one of my awesome second grade teammates helped switch my bulletin board and white board! Literally he brought his drill and 2 hours later VOILA! I definitely owe him big time!

So now that I am feeling better about the switch and am ready to get down and busy in my room, one of my big tasks this week has been my library. Well... here's a little bit how it looks:

Looking a little messy right now, but if you can believe it, this is way more organized than last year! This has been a 5 year process, and I THINK (or hope) that this is going to be the year that I've got my system down!!

So how in the world did I organize this? (Even if from the picture you don't believe me!!) Colored bins are the place to start!!!

BlueChapter Books
GreenBooks by the Same Author
PurpleBook Series

As you can see I have different types of books housed in different colored bins. It's made my life so much easier! Ever since I had seen Beth Newingham's book labels, I was in love with the idea of sorting books. So from the separating books to go in each colored bin, I then separated them by genre. (My first year teaching I had all my books on one big shelf... took students FOREVER to find a book).

A list of my genres:
  1. Many Animals
  2. Mammals
  3. US & History
  4. World History
  5. Geography
  6. Magazines
  7. Pets
  8. Marine Life
  9. Dinosaurs/Reptiles
  10. Insects/Spiders/Worms
  11. Plants/Food
  12. Earth/Space Science
  13. Transportation
  14. Biography
  15. Math
  16. Poems
  17. School
  18. Silly Stories
  19. Mystery
  20. Fantasy
  21. Realistic Fiction
  22. Traditional Literature
  23. Fairytales
  24. Alphabet
  25. Animal Characters
  26. Holidays
  27. Christmas
  28. Monsters/Dragons
  29. Seasons
  30. Good Character Traits
  31. Rhyming
  32. Family
  33. Friendship
  34. Magic Treehouse
  35. School
  36. Fantasy
  37. Mystery 
  38. Funny Fiction
  39. Peggy Parish
  40. Eric Carle
  41. Cynthia Rylant
  42. Jan Brett
  43. Clifford
  44. Arthur
  45. Little Critter
There's a few more authors/series in there, but that's a pretty complete list!

On each bin I had originally wrote the name of the genre in Sharpie. I found with my second graders that those who struggled in reading really didn't use the genre organization much. And whenever I assigned a librarian (student helper) in the library, I always had to make sure they were higher readers since they had to read where the book belonged. After perusing teachers pay teachers, and seeing Reagan's awesome book labels, I knew I wanted to make some of my own- labels that included PICTURES! That way my developing readers would be able to use the bins so much easier! So here's how my labels turned out:

Now it gets BETTER! Instead of writing inside the book where it belongs, I created labels that have the SAME picture as the bin it belongs to! Now students don't have to be a great reader to help file books back in the library! Great idea right?? (Again thanks to Reagan!!!) Thankfully Avery (who makes the labels) has an online label creator which made making these ever so easy.
You'll also notice a pocket and card. When students check out books from my library, our librarian will take the card out of the book, and place it in that student's library checkout pocket. I wish I had a picture, but basically it's posterboard, with more of these pockets adhered to it. Students write their number on the pocket and decorate it. Then all year the librarian puts the cards of the books they checkout in that students pocket and then puts them back in the book when its returned. Easy way for me to see what students are reading AND keep track of my books!

Now I'm not sure how many of my labels I can share because of copyright laws, but I am going to include the borders I used to make the book bin labels. I used 2inx4in labels from Avery. All you need to do is add a text box and clipart, then print! It'll come out perfectly on the label! I know mine did!

I'm trying to figure out how to share my microsoft word template... but it's not working. Going to definitely keep working on it, but for now there's a copy of the border I used! :)

Here's hoping all this time and organization is going to pay off in the end!

Look for more pictures from my room later this week! :) Can't wait to see the rest of y'alls rooms!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moving on up! Literally.

Oh August, you're keeping me busy! I have GT training all week, so basically it's like working! Cannot believe that school starts in a few weeks...

Last week I decided to get a jump on setting up my room. Since I won't have any time this week with training, I thought it'd be a great idea... right?!?! I was just imagining how the last few days before school I could focus on planning, and getting all those papers ready to be sent home with students... I COULD GET ORGANIZED. After all, that is one of my resolutions this year!

So, I spent 3 of my much loved (few left) summer days pulling furniture off each other, hanging bulletin boards, resetting up my classroom library, putting all my pinterest inspired projects out and about in the room....

Well, my starting early and setting up my classroom WAS A HORRIBLE IDEA.

Come Friday I learned that out of us 5 2nd grade teachers, 3 of us were going to have to move to another room.. another room UPSTAIRS.

WHY you ask?

Well before our old admin team left, they had planned to put structured learning upstairs.. our new admin now tells us that this is against the law and will be tough for those little babies to get up and down the stairs. Now as long as I have been in Texas, I thought 2nd grade could not be upstairs either.. apparently that's not the case anymore?!? Apparently this law either never existed or changed over summer because this was still my understanding when I started summer vacation.

After hearing this, our new admin team and us 2nd grade team sat down to iron out the details. Long story short- I volunteered to move. Another teammate of mine has trouble getting up and down the stairs, and she will be team teaching with another second grade teacher so the two of them MUST stay together.

So, I hesitantly offered to be one of the others to move.

Some good news:
  • The room upstairs is set up exactly like mine downstairs so I won't have to rearrange much. 
  • I'll be up in the 3rd grade pod so I'll get to see my babies from last year all the time (MAJORLY excited about that!!!). 
  • I'll get a great workout going up and down stairs many times throughout the day.

My room was literally almost completely set up! If I had students coming in tomorrow, my room would be ready to fly. I had done that much to it.

And now out I move... so another second grade teacher can move in... sounds soooo counterproductive!

Thankfully my team was very willing to help me move most of my things. So as we tore things out of cabinets, threw them into boxes, we were able to accomplish most of the moving in 4 hours or so. Now everything is on the floor in my new room upstairs.

But don't worry, as I was pulling out things to put into cabinets in my new room, I FOUND THEM FILLED WITH ITEMS FROM THE LAST TEACHER!

My biggest pet peeve is having to clean  out all of this random stuff that another teacher has left. EVERY year I have moved rooms, and EVERY year I have to clean out filing cabinets, drawers, cabinets, etc. It's absolutely frustrating.

I know it'll be fine in the end.. it just really bums me out that after doing all that work last week, everything had to be torn down and moved. And now I have to start over from square one.

This summer has been filled with changes! Here's hoping we get all the bumps out now so it'll be a smoother year... :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It... Better late than never!

So school is creeping up around the corner.. but that doesn't mean I'm not busy still creating things! Here's a peek and what I've been up to this week.

Project #1
These awesome magnets are going to work perfectly for my ketchup and pickles board. If you're not familiar with what it is, I found it on pinterest here! Basically students move their magnet to the ketchup (catch up) side if they didn't do their homework. In my class, I have students take it to lunch with them as to give them another chance before they take have to do it at recess. They can also become a ketchup if they don't finish their classwork for the day. I tried it out last year for the first time and my kids went nuts for it! It's also a fabulous visual for me to see which students still have work to finish up. Thanks so much to Elizabeth and Fun in Room 4b for the numbers to print out and directions to make them!

Project #2
 Mod Podge cliboards. Enough said.

 Project #3
 Brain Breaks from 3rd Grade Thoughts. I LOOOOVE these! I've been meaning to make them for the longest time. So glad I busted them out this week because it was quite the project! Cutting, laminating, cutting again, hot gluing, and then making a few brain breaks of my own to add! Now I am the happy owner of 70+ brain breaks. Not sure if that buckets is what I want to use yet.. as you can see it's a bit jam packed.

 Project #4

I posted about these AWESOME good bye rhymes I found over at The First Grade Parade last week.Well I finally hot glued (I was a hot gluing QUEEN this week!) them to some amazing rainbow zebra print ribbon I found at Hobby Lobby. Can't wait to use more of that ribbon. I LOOOOVE bright colors, and the animal print added in? YES please.

Project #5
I also mentioned about how I organize my math stations last week. Well I FINALLY got it together and decorated the drawers of my tubs. As you can see, I am organizing math this year by math concept. I'm hoping that will keep me much more organized. Thank goodness for this awesome tutorial from Kinder Craze!

I feel like I did more... hmm. I wanted to post more pictures of my classroom but seeing as I had to tear everything down to put in my new room, that may have to wait until next week!!