Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Number Corner Set-Up Photos~ Our Calendar Math Powerhouse!

Today's photo tour post is dedicated to all of my Bridges in Mathematics friends who have just been handed your brand new series and the loads of great materials that come along with it. I hope you will get some good ideas for your room too, even if you don't use Bridges!  

Getting set-up for Bridges number corner activities and math workplace stations can be confusing at first. I'm a visual person, so to get ideas for my set-up, I searched the web for photos of how other teachers set up their rooms. I am here to pass on some classroom photos for others who are searching too.

This is my September number CORNER for second grade (a work in progress), which actually is more like a HALF WALL. 

The biggest black pocket chart EVER needs its own bulletin board. 

Because this chart is now the focal point in my room, I went to work adding a pop of color with a poppin' patterns calendar set to match my room theme. 

I replaced the month header with a colorful one and placed small calendar numbers in front of the white cards. Once turned over, the numbers hide behind the larger card.

The letters from this easy bulletin board titles set came in handy for this colorful sign I printed on Astrobright paper.

 Make Way for Number Corner!
Room Arrangement Tips

  • You will need quite a bit of room for displays, materials and for a gathering area, so rearrange the desks and tables to create an open space. 
  • Two bulletin boards are helpful. One is for the jumbo pocket chart and the other to hang the Daily Rectangle grid. You can see the red and blue tiles on my grid. 
  • Below the grid, consider using a shelf to store your teacher number rack, student whiteboards, workplace bins or any materials you will need handy during number corner. 

  • There are many items to prepare for displays, vocabulary work and activities for each month. These will need to be hung as well. I have mine on two whiteboards next to the pocket chart.
  • It is recommended to have a chart stand for your calendar grid observation charts and monthly skill charts that need to be created on large paper. I typed mine up and will someday enlarge them as posters so they can be saved and reused. Plus, I had to add some clipart from Melonheadz!
 These charts change every month, so I am hoping that having a master in digital format will make editing easier.

Super Teacher Tools

Because many daily activities require that you record using a dry erase or wet erase marker, it is helpful to have a magnetic marker holder and whiteboard eraser. 

I also purchased magnetic sentence strips from Lakeshore for the calendar collection titles and date. 

My favorite purchase is the small black storage ottoman from Target that I use as my teacher stool/ binder rest. I love that I can be down at the students' level.

 I'm sure my number corner will evolve as I figure things out and see how they work for my class.
 I will keep you updated!

 Now if I could only make sense of my binders... 
If you have Bridges, you know what I mean!

Have a happy rest of the week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Flash Freebie! Rainbow Scalloped Borders and Frames

I just finished a set of rainbow scalloped borders and frames for personal or commercial use! I am excited about them because they have white fill so they are perfect for product covers where you want your item and description to stand out!

You can grab up a set here free for the next 24 hours.
 After that, they will still be a hot bargain at just 2 dollars!

If you do download them, I'd love to know what you think!
 Hope you like them too! 

Have a marvelous Monday friends! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Magic Reading Wands

Abracadabra! Make magic reading wands appear! This is such a simple way to encourage young learners to track along when reading and to engage your students who wander off the page, distracted. I tell my littles that their eyes need to be on the words and then the magic wands will help them become better readers. 

To make the wands all you need are some craft sticks, glue and glitter. Simply add a generous blob of glue to one end of one flat side of the stick and sprinkle on the magic sparkles!
I usually make them on a Friday and let them dry over the weekend. 

Bigger is better when it comes to glitter!
 I have noticed that the brands with the largest flakes hold up the longest. 

We are only into our first full week of school, so I am just getting to know my students as readers. We work on most stories in September as a whole group until the kiddos are all tested and leveled. 

With our bright sticks, it is easy to see at a distance who is having a hard time following along. The kids always love using their wands and it is well worth the ten minutes spent to make them!

Maybe you can use a little magic prop for your readers too. 
Why not give it a try?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Always Remember! Patriot Day Freebie

We will always remember where we were, what we were doing and the events of that day.
  Even more importantly, we will always remember the victims, families and heroes of 9/11. 
We appreciate the men and women of the Armed Forces who keep us safe and protect our freedom!

Although my students are too young to truly understand its significance or the details of the event, we will spend some time discussing simply that September 11th is an important but sad day in the history of our country. 

Last year, I shared these two simple pages I made for my little ones to show their patriotism.

I will have them copy from the board and color this page to take home.
 Parents can decide how much information they feel is appropriate to share with their child.

We will write something like this:

September 11th is a time to remember the victims, their families and the heroes of that tragic day.
 We love our country.

If you think you might want this for your class too you can download a copy here.

Always remember!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lesson Plan Books- Drab to Fab!

I cringed the other day as I handed off an ugly brown school-issued plan book (the one that comes with carbon paper in the back) to my student teacher. Yes, they still exist! Personally, I prefer to have my lesson plans in an actual book I can carry around, rather than on the computer or in a binder. There are lots of reasons for this, but mainly because it is what I am used to! Plus, I can work on plans in the waiting room, outside while monitoring recess, at team meetings or wherever else my book can travel!

The format of my favorite FREEBIE plan book from Lakeshore is perfect for my planning needs! I love the layout, but the cover....not so much! This book is the focal point of my desk (when it is clean), so I'd like it to reflect my theme and style. So, I hide the cover!

A few years ago, I found some cute and FREE plan book binder covers in a variety of designs from Teaching in Flip Flops. I printed and laminated one, then rolled clear packing tape to the back and stuck it on top of the not-so-attractive cover! Now each year, when I change books, I simply remove the cover from the old book and switch it up! This is year three for my cover and it is still like new!

There are many other things in my room that I want to transform from drab to fab by adding my own cover the same way! I have some oldie but goodie resource books with worn out covers...they are next on the list! :)

I've seen other ideas similar to this for decorating student spiral notebooks and that is just super too!
If you have a great idea, I'd love to hear about it in the comments! 

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School Tree Map~ Freebie

Tomorrow is the big day! I'm as ready as I can be to welcome my new group of kiddos, but of course, last-minute-Lucy here is making up more things to do as my wheels keep spinning with ideas! I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time sleeping the night before because of the excitement and the fact that I have been staying up WAY too late all summer long. Hence, a blog post! Before I go try to turn off my racing mind and unwind a little, I wanted to share something we will be completing on the first day of school. We will be working on Tree Maps during the month of September so I made these for back to school!

The handwriting line at the bottom is to be used for a summary sentence.
 They're nothing fancy, but could be great as a pre-writing activity and lead to some good discussion!

You can grab this freebie from my dropbox here if you like.

We will be doing lots of Thinking Map-type activities as a school improvement strategy so I hope to keep them coming!

Happy Labor Day and good luck to all my friends who are also heading back tomorrow!
 Sleep well!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekend Warriors: Parent Involvement? There's an App for That!

The key to a successful year is having the support of the parents of the children we care for and educate. We know it is just as important to build relationships with our parents as it is to do so with our kiddos! This edition of the Weekend Warriors hop is all about getting parents involved in their child's education.

I love that we have open house the first week of school. My evening always includes a presentation of what can be expected throughout the year. It's great that I have that chance to speak from the heart, to tell parents my philosophy on education, to ask for their assistance in working as a TEAM, to help to ease their anxieties about the unknown and all of that good stuff! The parents always leave happy, relieved and excited that the year will be a great one! I leave with tons of party helpers, classroom volunteers and co-teachers! Involvement at its best!

This is the parent night presentation that I use. 
It helps to have a format to keep on track so I don't forget what I want to say!

  These are just a few of the slides. You can read the full description and see it at my store here!
It has had a makeover just in time for open house!
 If you purchased it already, be sure to download the updated file!

 Parent involvement? There's an app for that!
Did you know that Scholastic has a great way to send information out to parents! 
It's called Class Messenger

I am definitely going to check it out! All of the information and phone numbers are completely hidden. You can send out reminders, photos of your class in action, donation requests and quick notes to helpers. 

Well, hopefully you were able to hop around for back to school ideas a little yesterday. I know I did and got some fantastic ideas from my clever Weekend Warriors friends. 
Be sure to go visit each of them to see what they have for you today!

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