Saturday, August 9, 2014

Juice Box Bully - Creating a Community in Your Classroom

Hey there!  So, 4 days into the new school year and I am LOVING my new class!  I think one of the best things about our job is that we get to "start over" each year and we get fresh, new, precious faces, to work with!!

One of my major goals the first day of school is to build community and make my classroom feel comfortable and inviting!  I want them to WANT to come back the next day!  How do I do this you might ask?  Well, I am happy to tell you!  ;O)
I won't go into everything right now, but I will tell you about one lesson I did!  Now, since I teach 4th grade, kids are kind of on the brink of "finding themselves."  They are testing out who they want to be and what friends they want to surround themselves with.

Have you read Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy?
This book was first brought to my attention in one of our Mentor Text Linkies but I couldn't find who linked it up!!  If it was you, let me know so I can give you credit!  I'm so thankful!!!

This is a great book!  I can't even tell you how great!  You'll have to trust me and get it!  Especially if you teach upper grades!  This was the last book I read on the first day.   My goal of reading this book was to let my class know that we are a family.  We will not tolerate bullying.  Period.  I have very sweet kids, but I wanted to equip them to feel empowered to SAY SOMETHING if they saw any type of bullying.

I read this book and we talked about it as we went.  A brief synopsis from me is that there is a new student to a class named Pete.  In his old school, he was made fun of (bullied) so when he came to his new school, he immediately started bullying the kids before they could bully him.  However, the students of his new school had made a "promise" and would not allow the bullying.  In the end, they become friends with Pete and he stops being a bully.

We had great conversation about this.  My students picked up pretty quick (before the book explained) that Pete had obviously been treated badly to treat others that way.  We tried to troubleshoot how to get Pete to be nice.  They came up with some great solutions that were very close to the book.  I was so impressed!

After reading the book, we read the promise that the students had made when they first entered the class.  I typed it out and they also signed a class poster.  On top of that, I had them sign an individual piece of paper with the promise on it to hold them accountable.  The poster is now hanging on the wall outside our classroom (as you can see by the picture at the top of the post).

As a follow up activity, I had seen an activity called Friendship Salad by Terri Izatt that I found intriguing.
Now, I knew this was for kindergarten, but I thought it was an amazing idea!!!  You use fruit to make a friendship salad!  I don't want to give away too much information because this is her pack, but this was the best idea, for real!!!  She has a really cute story that goes with making the salad!  It's visual and kinesthetic and I knew the kids would "get it"!!!!

We made our salad and this is what it ended up looking like:

As we were making the salad I had the students use Terri's cut and paste activity.  They pasted as we added each fruit.
And as we pasted, I had them write the friendship attributes on the back of the paper.
My kids, 4th graders, seriously loved this!  As we made the salad, my picky self, was like, uhhhhh, wow...I'm not sure they're gonna eat this.  And then, there was the seriously sweet smell of it.  But, I called each table up to eat and guess what?!?  They ALL wanted some and they LOVED it!!  

(Annnnnnnnd, it doesn't help when you can't see their happy faces but I just wanted to prove to you they did eat it.  And even if you can't see it, they were smiling ear to ear!)

For morning work on school day 2 I had a brief questionnaire about the first day of school.  One of the questions was "What was your favorite part of the first day of school?"  Several put friendship salad!!!!  

Another question asked "What was something you learned on the first day of school?"  Several put something about Juice Box Bully like "My teacher wants us to behave and to help other kids behave" and "We should not bully anyone.  We are a family."

Hellooooooooooo?  Can you see why I already LOVE this class?!?  Precious!!!!!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!

I wanted to link this up to my sweet, sweet friend Joanne's linky because I really hope it sparked student motivation to be great role models and citizens.  
Make sure you check out all of the motivation linked up!

I can't wait to share more about what we're up to this year.

How do you build community in your classroom?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Classroom Reveal- Monday Made It

Hey there!  I just wanted to pop in and show you a bit of my classroom!
We all know how we work sooooo hard to set up our classrooms so that they are a comfortable and inviting space!  To parents, it may not look like a lot, but we know the time and effort that went into it!  And it's all for the love of the children who will walk through those doors that first day!

I know this is not a traditional Monday Made It, but I do feel like I "made" the room and some of the things in it!  ;O)

I'm pretty proud of my desk space!  Well, not ON my desk, but behind it!  Y'all know I love books!  Well, they were organized, but not really cute.  Here's what it looked like before.
Sorry it's blurry!!  Yikes, right?  I mean they were organized but definitely not cute!  And then there were so many new books I hadn't found a spot for.  So, that's why I did this:
I got the bins (magazine holders) from Big Lots.  I love them!  They hold the bigger, longer books really well!  I did NOT love having to go to 3 different Big Lots repeatedly over the summer to get all of these and I'm not going to tell you what annoys me about this, although you can probably see it.  But I had to use what I could find.  I really wish they would have seasonal items online for purchase.  Oh well.  I still think it looks MUCH better than it did before.

I made those labels for them on the computer.  I really thought I was doing a good job with pictures but I didn't get close enough.
I'm not sure if you can use the labels, but I'm attaching them HERE if you'd like them for free!  It is an editable powerpoint so you can just type in there.  This is the first time I've made an editable file, so I hope it looks okay and works!

Here is the space just in front of my desk.  Please excuse the millions of pillows.  We use those during workshop time.  These amazing Grammar Morphology posters came from Kristen and Ladybugs Teacher Files and I'm so excited to have put them up this year!  I think they are going to be a great tool for my kiddos!
I made the "Parts of Speech" heading for the top of the posters.  :O)
Here is what my room looks like when you walk in.  I mean, you have peripheral vision so you'd see more but this is what my camera saw!  The board straight ahead has geography on it.  As we learn the terms we'll put the terms on the board and use string to label them.  It's our first unit in social studies!

This is what you see when you walk in my door to the left.
Here are my two carpet spaces.  The aqua rug is for whole group instruction at the board.  The zebra rug is for when I'm reading aloud.  I sit on the bench and read to them. The bench is a favorite spot during workshop time!  :O)  We spend almost the entire day on the carpet.  Really.  So when you see how their desks are to the side, that's because we are hardly ever at our desks.  A parent of a student I will have this year, who is also a teacher at another school, came in and said "Your room is huge!"  Well, it is a good sized room, but it seems huge because of all of the space in the middle.  It was strategic planning for the desks!
I have supplies in all of those drawers.  I need to label those next!

This is a picture from standing in front of my desk.  The board on the left is science (matter and the water cycle).  We will also add to that board as we go.  I feel like if you start the year with an explosion of materials on the walls, they'll never really "see" it because it becomes background.  But, if you let them help you put things on the wall, they do see it and reference it!
This is what it looks like when I stand at my kidney table.
And this is what it looks like from the front.
That crazy white space to the right is where they hang backpacks.  The wall is white because as we learn, I move posters, etc, over to that space so they are forced to look at it while they hang their backpacks!  ;O)

Here's another from the front corner!
I did make the pom poms for the tree.  Well, I mean I bought them from Party City and poofed them out.  But that's something, right?  Owls are obviously my classroom theme.  Why?  I just think they're cute!
Here is my classroom library that kids can get books from.  The bins are also from Big Lots and match the ones behind my desk.  The labels are from Kristen at Ladybugs Teacher Files. I obviously love all of her stuff!  I also have her Transitional Words Morphology Posters but I haven't figured out where I want to put them yet!  There are so many and all are valuable.  I may even put them in the hall and let them go out there during writing!
I love my window and my bench!

The day I took these photos (Friday) we were preparing to meet our students for the upcoming year at our registration.  I had these treats on the desk.
I didn't take a picture of the back after I had assembled them.  On the back is a label that says "4th Grade is a hoot!  I'm so excited to be your teacher this year!"  I made the heads with my Silhouette Cameo.  That was a process.  After some help from my friend Elizabeth at Fun in 4B and Megan at I Teach What's Your Super Power? I finally got it.  Totally user error, but it was a learning experience!

Oh, and all of this amazing clipart on my pictures is from Megan  at I Teach What's Your Super Power?  So cute, right???

So.  Here's the ONLY Monday Made It I've linked up all summer!  So sad, I know!  Make sure to go to the sweet and creative Tara's blog for more Monday Made Its!!
Have a great week!  Students come for their first day Tuesday!  I have staff development today.  I hope to be sharing some great activities we'll be doing very soon!
PS- Don't forget about the Back to School sale on TpT!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Back to School Teacher Sale and Giveaway- Make sure to Enter!

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wow! This has been a busy week! We started preplanning on Tuesday, and today we meet our students for registration day. Yay!  :)

Amanda and I are getting super pumped for the upcoming Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale! I know lots of you guys are too! Our Wishlist keeps growing...and growing...and...growing! There are so many awesome products that we want to buy and use with our kiddos this year.

We are sharing 2 of our Most-Wishlisted products with you, and sharing 1 product we have on OUR wishlist that we will be buying on Monday.

Also, we have an AWESOME giveaway for you! We teamed up with some of our BBB's to offer 3 TPT gift certificates! Woohoo!!! So make sure to enter at the bottom of this post!  :)

So, the 1st product that we want to share is our Causes of the American Revolution Informational Articles and Activities.  This pack contains 11 articles each with interactive notebook activities and comprehension questions! I love this product because it seamlessly integrates reading and writing into social studies.

These articles can be used to teach social studies content, but they are also perfect for close reading and discussion. Even if you do not teach the American Revolution, you might still be interested in incorporating this resource into your Language Arts lessons.

In my classroom, my students pasted these articles into their interactive social studies notebooks, and then we read them together. We did close readings on them, highlighting, underlining, and making notes about our thinking and learning. Then, we used the interactive flip books to review what we learned. Finally, I used the comprehension questions as an easy assessment grade.  The students practiced finding text evidence as they dug deeper into the articles to answer the comprehension questions.

My students really enjoyed reading the articles, and they used them (and the flip books) as a reference as we moved through our study of the American Revolution. Because we pasted them in to our notebooks, they were always right there for the kids to refer back to.  :)

The 2nd product that we want to share is our First Day Jitters Unit. This unit is great for the first week of school. If you haven't read this book by Julie Danneberg, you have to check it out! It is so cute, and it captures the emotions that students AND teachers feel at the beginning of a new school year. Even if the kids have already heard the story before, they love hearing it read to them again. I promise! Every year, my kids see me carry the book over to our carpet area, and they all start to whisper, "I love this book! It's so good!"

The unit we created to accompany the book contains activities to do with your students before, during, and after reading, as well as games and a jellybean and jitters jar activity. :) Lots of fun!

So what's one product we are buying for sure on Monday?  It's Close Reading Nonfiction Texts for Upper Elementary- August. I can't wait because I know this is going to be so valuable for me to use in my guided reading groups. I can also use it to assess my kids. It includes differentiated articles for all levels of learners AND close reading activities. Perfect! 

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!

Please enter our giveaway so you can earn some TPT cash! :)  Have fun shopping!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have a great weekend!  And don't forget to check out what my friends have wishlisted!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why'd I buy it? Classroom rug...

Hey there!  I'm popping in really quick to join in on a fun new linky that my sweet friend AMC is starting this month!
Now, this girl likes to shop, but I do feel better when I can justify a purchase, you know?

Last year I bought a zebra print rug for my floor gathering area.

Here is a picture of this rug, in use, last year.  Now, it's a blurry picture, but can you see how the white is already looking dingy?  Yeah.  Yuck.  For some reason, it got really yucky pretty fast.  And, I even had one sweet child color with marker on the white part.  Yep.  Grrrr.

So, this year, I knew the wonderful custodians at my school would clean this carpet and it would look better.  But, I thought, I could move this carpet to another seating space in my room, that wasn't used as much, and I'd get another bright carpet for my room.  (See, justifying my purchase!  I needed a new rug, right?)

So, I saw this...didn't buy it, and then convinced myself that I needed it, and went back to get it!
It's beautiful, right?  It's really prettier in person.  It's aqua, my favorite color!

Um, do you see a problem with this?  Maybe the same problem I had last year?  Yeah.  I didn't see it until I'd bought it, rolled it out, loved it, and then took a second to think.

It has white.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to threaten them with their lives to be nice to my new rug.  What was I thinking????  Oh, I know.  It's aqua, and it's prettyyyyyyyyyy.  Pretty rug!!

So, now I have two rugs, both with white.  When I do my classroom reveal, I'll show you my two spaces.  Apparently, I haven't gotten very good pictures of it yet.  Maybe that's because I went back to school yesterday and I'm in that "back to school" zone of chaos and overwhelm?  I promise to take photos and show you my room!  But for now, I bought this carpet from Lowes because I needed it.  Yep, needed it.  Although I MIGHT should have done a better job of thinking that through.  Would I have changed my mind?  Heck no!!  It's AQUA!!!!!  I LOVE it!  I'll just threaten them....for real...


I can't wait to see what everyone links up!  I mean, I probably should wait because then I'm going to want to go shopping, but, I'm sure I can justify it, you know?  ;O)

By the way, my friend Lisa is having a giveaway!  Please make sure to stop by and enter to win!
I hope you have a great Wednesday! I have to do a presentation for fourth and fifth grade today so send good thoughts my way if you can!  I appreciate it!  ;O)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sentences Packs- Two for Tuesday 50% OFF DEAL

Hey friends!

I am here to share a Two For Tuesday deal with you!  Please check out  The Teaching Tribune for all the amazing deals! There are ALWAYS great deals!

Today we are linking up 2 of our Language Arts units focused on SENTENCES! We always start the year teaching parts of speech and building sentences and types of sentences and sentences versus fragments, these 2 packs come in very handy.

They are on SALE today for 50% off, so if you are interested, please take a look...

We are back at school for DAY 1 of PREPLANNING today!!! Wish us Luck!  :)  Can't believe summer flew by like this!

Thank you for stopping by! Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I'm Wearing Wednesday- Back to School Stitch Fix Score

Hey there!  My friend Jessica has a linky party called What I'm Wearing Wednesday and she has asked me to join a few times.  I told her I couldn't because I don't know how to take selfies.  So, she showed me how while we were in Vegas, but I'm still not very good at it!
Buuuuuuut, I totally scored on my last Stitch Fix and wanted to share it with you!  If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, click HERE and you can check it out for yourself!  Basically you answer some questions about your body and style and a stylist picks out clothes for you and then sends them to your house!  You try them on and send back anything that doesn't fit or you don't like (for FREE).

I've had four fixes I think.  I tried to look it up but I couldn't find how many.  I think it's 4.  I usually keep one or two items.  If you like all 5 pieces, you get 25% off the items.  So, I wanted to keep all 5 each time but usually the fit wasn't quite right.

See, my problem area is my lower half.  I'd say I'm pear shaped.  So dresses would fit on my bottom half but be too big on the top.  Or, it would be a shirt that fit well up top but was too tight in my hips.  So annoying.  I hate being pear shaped.  And I hate tight things.  Not my style.  So I started working out this summer and guess what?  I lost inches UP TOP and not in my problem areas (yep, still have all that junk in my trunk!)!  Ugh.  How does that happen?  I'm spinning my legs off but I'm losing weight in my chest?  Just doesn't seem right...anyway...

For the last three fixes I've had the same stylist.  She is AWESOME!  After each fix you give them feedback on their website about each item.  I try to be very specific.  I told her in June that I'm pear shaped, I hate it, and I don't like anything tight around my hips.  And guess what?  She LISTENED!  And, I kept all 5 items in my July fix!!  So, let me show you what she sent me!

(Now, please forgive the pictures!  I told you I don't take good selfies.  My 9 year old daughter took them.  She is about a foot shorter than me.  So she was angling the phone up to take the pictures which is so unflattering but I couldn't be upset that she's shorter than me!)

Daaaarn!  The pictures are a lot darker on here than they look on my phone!!  Well, here are two pieces from my fix!  Now, I told you before, I do NOT like tight.  And these are skinny jeans.  So they are tight.  Very tight.  But, they have stretch in them so they are comfortable.  They are a really pretty kelly green (which you can't see in this picture...grrrr).  Now, I almost said no to them because they are so tight.  But I asked Jessica to give me her opinion and she said they are just right for skinny jeans (tight, but not too tight) so I'm trusting her on that.  The blue polka dotted shirt is super comfy!  It's loose and flowy, without looking too big.  There is a cross across my back, but I was not about to show you a picture of my backside!  ;O)

Here is a dress from my fix.  Now, again, it's very form fitting which is not generally something I'd go for in a dress, especially with horizontal stripes on the lower half, but again, it's SUPER comfortable and I can throw pretty much any colored cardigan over it and even leggings under it in the winter.
Also, I'm 5'4" so I'm an odd height.  I'm not short enough for petites but not quite tall enough for regular length.  Ankle pants usually hit me weird, so I was so excited about the green pants!  It can also be a problem with dresses and skirts.  I know for sure one skirt my stylist sent me was very A-lined and flowy and it made me look stumpy.  Well, my stylist mentioned that with the skirt below.  She said she picked an A-line that wasn't as flowy and she nailed it!  (I love that she looks back to see what she sent and why it didn't work, and then adjusts!)
The coral shirt is see-through and has adorable flutter sleeves.  I'm not sure if it was meant to go with this skirt but I put them together and I think it works.  The houndstooth skirt is awesome and comfortable!  A teacher I work with is a huge Alabama fan and she is going to freak over this!  The angle my daughter took the picture from doesn't do it justice.  It's the perfect fit, style, and length.  I should have put shoes on with all of these but it was enough trying to get pictures of three outfits with two boys running in and out of the pictures, so I was trying to change quick!  I think you get the idea though!  ;O)

I love that everything is comfortable, can be worn back to school immediately, and she kept the shirts flowy on top.  I've always loved everything sent to me!  Seriously!  I always open the box and pull it out and oooooo and ahhhhhhh!  It's kind of sad, though, when something adorable comes and it doesn't fit.  This time, I was soooooo excited when it all worked!  I know some people have used Stitch Fix and haven't had the same stylist each time.  I guess I got lucky because it totally makes a difference!  Now that she knows where my head is at with my body issues and my style, I think she'll keep nailing it!!

If you haven't tried Stitch Fix, go check it out!  They didn't ask me to blog about it and I get nothing in return.  I just wanted to share my happiness about my last fix!  What are YOU wearing?  ;O)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two for Tuesday Deal- Mentor Sentences and Science Fossils!

Hey y'all!

I am here to share a Two For Tuesday deal with you! I LOVE this linky! :) Thank you to The Teaching Tribune for hosting each week!!!

This will be a short post because I have just returned from my big vacation this summer- my husband and I went  to Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada! I had never been to either city before, and they are BOTH BEAUTIFUL! We had such a wonderful time! :)  I was VERY sad to miss the big TPT Conference, especially since my best friend and other half, Amanda, went, but we did have an amazing trip. And Amanda shared all the conference scoop with me!  :)  Here's a pic of us (on top of the Seattle Space Needle)- so fun!

Okay, on to the linky! We have 2 products at 50% off today ONLY!  Yay! The first is my newest unit- Fossils! It is very similar to our Light Unit- 5 nonfiction articles, interactive notebook flip books, comprehension questions, answer keys and an assessment! Great for your study of fossils or for nonfiction close reading or comprehension practice.  Click here to see our fossils unit!

The second is our Mentor Sentence Unit for Back to School- This is perfect for the first few weeks! The sentences and lesson plans are included as well as assessments and answer keys! Click here to check it out.

Thanks for stopping by! Please visit The Teaching Tribune to see all of the other 2 for Tuesday Deals! :)
Have a great day!  

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