Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It: WBT Super Improvers Stars

I'm linking up again (I know another Linky) with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It.


My Monday Made It this week is very simple.  I cut out white stars with my Silhouette.


But, here's why.  I'm going to implement Whole Brain Teaching this year.  I started using parts of it last year, to experiment with it, but this year, I'm going all out, at least as much as I can using it for the first time.

One of the features I LOVE is the Super Improvers Team Wall.  I created these labels for each level.

They're a sort of conglomerate of different walls I have seen.  I liked some words from each wall, so I chose the ones I liked and put them in order.  These cards are available in my TpT store.  A buyer asked, so I did add cards for the Sports Theme of words with the same clipart images.  I just swapped out the words.

Back to my stars . . . each student will have a star with their  name on it.  I was able to cut most of the colored stars last Spring when my student teacher was soloing.  I cut them out of copy paper, but the white copy paper was too thin.  I didn't have card stock with me at the time, so I knew those had to wait until now.  I cut them yesterday.  A super easy Monday Made It, I know.

Here's how I cut them:


I created two stars in the Silhouette Studio program.  I did this back in the Spring, but I'm pretty sure that I drew lines and then connected them into a five point star.

Then, I cut out the stars with the Silhouette cutting machine.


Cutting all the stars did take a bit longer than I expected.  But it will be so cool to see them all displayed and the gold stars attached to each student's larger star.


So, what did you make this week?  Go link up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekly Homework {Why I Do What I Do Linky}

I'm linking up again with Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas to share what I do with homework.

I am a minimalist when it comes to homework.  If I had it my way,  I wouldn't assign homework.  I think students need to be outside playing, or inside creating each evening, not doing more schoolwork.  But, since I'm not on our board of education and there is a district policy that I *should* follow, here's what I do.

Last year, I did STAR Homework and our cover sheets looked like this:



I decided it was boring, and didn't give enough information, so I changed it around a bit and this year, my homework will look like this:


I got the idea of Mon-STAR from Teaching Maddeness.  I used some of the same headings that she has on her pages.  I may change the Re-mostars . . . it's not as apparent that it's reminders.

What do we do for homework?  Each night, students have the *option* of doing a

  • 1/2 page of Reading and Math
  • Practice Math Facts
  • Practice Sight Words (for some students)
  • Read for 10 minutes
  • Read for 10 more minutes
I say optional, because I don't grade the homework and (as I said above), I don't care about homework.  It's for the parents mainly.  The 1/2 page of Reading and Math comes from Second Story Window.  They're so easy to copy and handout each day.  It, for the most part follows the order I teach the standards, but it's easy enough for parents and siblings to figure out.

I encourage students to practice math facts and work on their sight words each night.  I used this sight word packet this year, but next year, will use this one.  The difference?  The Irregular Words one is all non-decodable words.  The words don't have traditional spelling patterns and NEED to be memorized.

I also encourage students to read.  If they can read 20 minutes, they get two stars.

Speaking of stars, students give themselves a star for each part of the homework they complete.  We have a long discussion at the beginning of the year about honesty.  For the most part, I think students adhere to it.  There's no really way for me to know, unless, of course, they're not making progress on their math facts and sight words!

Each day, students return the lower portion of their homework sheet for the previous day's homework.  We add up the stars as a class and chart it on this sheet.  I haven't revised it yet this year.


Each column is 10 squares, to match a base-10 stick.  We add up each day and then add it to the previous day's total.  This is how we apply some of our two-digit addition skills during the beginning of the year.  The tens above make adding easy and we add each number by place value.  It's how I introduce two-digit addition and provides a motivational problem to solve.  

Our goal is to get more stars than the previous week.  I don't really keep track of it that well, especially later in the year. I may do some sort of incentive thing next year.  We'll see.

So, how do you do homework?  Is it the bane of your existence as a teacher?  What are your views on homework as a parent and as a teacher?

Favorite Pinterest Boards - Linky

Don't you just LOVE Pinterest?  I'm on there every day looking at all the wonderful teaching resources ideas, gathering ideas for my next unit and lesson.

A few of us sellers decided to get together to share with your our favorite Pinterest boards.  Below is a link to one of our favorite boards.


These boards do not have a ton of product photos on them.  They are boards with anchor charts, videos, activities, and classroom photos where you can see authentic teaching.

I hope you find some wonderful resources and ideas to enhance your teaching this next year!

Do you want to link up?  Add your link below and show us your FAVORITE board.  The rules:  Link up to a Pinterest board that does NOT have a majority of product covers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Professional Books: Free!

In the past 15 years, I have accumulated a ton of professional books.  I buy a couple each year.  When I was getting my masters 10 years ago, I'm sure it more than a couple each year!

At this point, they're just sitting in boxes, not getting used, and I'm pretty much done with them.  So, I'm offering them to you!  For free.

If you want any of these books, let me know.  I'll mail them to you.  I'm just asking you to pay for shipping (Media Mail) via Paypal, which usually ends up being $4 or so.

There is some highlighting, underlining, writing in some of the books.

Here's what I have right now:


The first three are math reference books. They're really good for upper elementary and middle school.  They explain math concepts in easy to understand ways.  The titles are Math to Know, Math on Call, and Algebra to Go.  They'd be great for homeschool families or for teachers who need to brush up on their math skills. GONE!


The second set are Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics and the Josey-Bass Educational Leadership (©2000).  The Ed. Leadership book is updated yearly, I think.  I have an older version.


The third set are pretty motivational and really set a purpose behind my teaching.  The Right to Learn and The Power of Their Ideas.  They set the idea that all students are capable of learning and that is our job as teachers to unlock their learning potential.  Wonderful books!

If you're interested in the books, leave a comment below and I'll email you details about the cost of shipping them to you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Five For Friday.


My numbers this week are completely unoriginal and I'm not even sure I can come up with FIVE things!  My life is so boring during the summers!

One

I forgot it was Friday.  That's what summer is all about, right?

Two

We thoroughly enjoy our boxes of fruits and vegetables from Full Circle.



One boy likes to pretend he's Peter Rabbit.  The other boy didn't know that carrots have green stems.  Each week, we receive a box of fruits and vegetables.  They are so yummy!  It gets delivered right to our door step (can you say time saver).  It's reasonably priced and good!  They have different box options for different size families.  Unfortunately they're only available on the West Coast (WA, ID, CA, AK).  If you're interested, let me know . . . I can get you a coupon code!

Three

This is the current state of our living room!


It's a destroyed fort (the couch cushions) and a mine field (the legos).  My boys don't have my OCD organization gene, at least not yet!

Four

I'm so close to finishing this and I can't wait to be DONE!


My second grade version is pretty popular and I've been asked to create a third grade version.  I just need to finish the answer key.  Simple right?  Well a 69 page answer key to go with the 69 pages of content!

Five

The other thing that we have been enjoying this summer is eMeals.  Basically, you sign up and get free recipes delivered to your email.  They have a variety of eating plans, like 15 of them.  I've tried two of the eating plans and switched between them for a while before settling on the clean eating plan.  It is so yummy!  My husband loves the side dishes even more than the main courses, although those are good, too!  Again, let me know if you're interested and I can get you a discount if I send you an invite.

The thing that I love about eMeals is that it takes the guess work out of dinner planning.  I still have to plan what we're having, but it's new and different.  It's more plug and play.  I'm hoping that as the school year starts up, it will be a load off my shoulders during the evenings.  I won't have to "think" about dinner all the time!

So, how has your week been?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seller's Resources: Blog Planner & Data and Expense Tracker

Are you a teacher blogger?  Are you a TpT Seller?  Did you go to the TpT Conference last week?

I did and got so many great ideas for how to improve my store, my products, and my presence on social media.

One of the things I realized is that I needed to be more purposeful about my posts to social media, including blogging and posting on Facebook.  I do a pretty good job, but I don't really track my progress and set goals about posting.

So, I created a Blog Planner and combined it with an updated version of my Data & Expense Tracker (Excel Document) to create a Seller's Resources Bundle.


There are a ton of blog planners out there.  It's just a matter of finding something you like!  I never did find "just" the right thing, so I created my own.

What's unique about mine?  Well, there are two parts.


Part One is the Blog Planner: The monthly calendar has a checklist of social media places that you can check off.  This list is gray.  I wanted it grayed out a bit, so I could easily see the check marks and so that, if I wrote notes on the page, the text of the checklists wouldn't compete for attention from my eyes.  I'm a visual person and the grayed out list helps me focus on the check marks.

I've included a facing page (or you can print it back-to-back) of to dos, goals vs. actuals, and giveaways.  Although the goals are also in the excel file, it's sometimes nice to see it on a more regular basis than I use the excel file.

There's also a place to list Blog Post Ideas as they come to you.

The blog planner is not editable, but includes months through December 2015.  I'll add more months for 2016 next year.


Part Two is the Excel Document: It's where I keep track of all my expenses, my earnings, my goals, and my benchmarks.  You should have a working knowledge of excel to use this document.  It's not hard, but you should be familiar with the program.  In the excel document, there's a Profit & Loss Statement (we recently refinanced and I was asked for this document), Earnings Tab (with a variety of ways to view your earnings), Goals and Benchmarks Tab (where you can set goals across a wide variety of data points), and Monthly Expense sheets, where you can record your expenses.  The excel document is fully editable.

Both of these documents come zipped together when you download the Seller's Resources Bundle.

Do you sell on TpT?  Would you like a copy?  Comment below and the first three people will get a copy.

Are you interested in selling on TpT?  It's an awesome opportunity of growth.  I have seen a ton growth in my teaching since becoming a seller.  Signing up is easy.  There's a seller's forum to help you get started and many tutorials on the web to walk you through the process of creating resources.

** Disclaimer: I am not a tax consultant.  Be sure to consult your tax person about what expenses you can deduct. 
** Disclaimer: By using the above sign-up link for TpT, I do get a referral bonus, but it does not come out of your earnings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: Paperback Swap

This post is a little different from my normal book talks where I talk about a specific book. Instead, I'm going to tell you about a wonderful resource where you can get books for your classroom (or yourself), for very little money.


I read a lot.  I probably finish a book a week, a little more during the summer, a little less during stressful times of the school year.  When I was a kid, I would read every chance I could get.  I had a hard time finding things to read in our school library because I had read so many of the books already!

A couple years ago, I stumbled upon PaperBack Swap.  It is a website where you can basically give away the books you have read and in exchange get new books to read, all for the cost of postage.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
Essentially, you register with the site (which is free) and list ten books you're willing to send away.  If someone wants a book, they can request it.  If someone requests a book, you agree to mail it to them within a set amount of days, usually two days.  You can print a label and postage from the website (that's what I usually do because it's easy) or you can write your own labels and take the books to the post office.  You pay for the postage.  That's it.
If you want a book from someone else, you request it and they send you the book.  You only pay for postage for books you send out, not books that you request.
There's also wish lists, where you can wish for books, if they're not available.  You can even wish for books that haven't been published yet (as long as they have a publish date).  I often do that if I've found a good author that I like and I want to request their new releases.  When the book is available, you get an email.  So easy!
For each book you send out, you build up credits.  With each book you request, you use a credit.  If you have a lot of books around your house (like I did), it's easy to accumulate credits.
Here's where it's great for classrooms:  I'm able to request children's books.  Do any of these look familiar?
These DK books are great for my second graders who love informational text.  I have a ton already, but my nonfiction books always seem to get snatched up quickly!  So, I ordered a couple more, when I saw that a member had them available.
With Paperback Swap, it's very easy to build credits and get books for your classroom.  These are used books, so keep that in mind.  You are able to set some "conditions" that the sender should adhere to when mailing books.  I've set mine to indicate that the books should be "like new" and said that they're for my classroom.  Most of the time, I get books that are in terrific shape!
Interested in signing up and trying it out?  Click on the banner below.
Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

** Disclaimer: I do receive a credit for each person that signs up and lists 10 books through the link in the banners on above.  However, that has not included my review of the web site.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It: WBT Super Improvers Stars

I'm linking up again (I know another Linky) with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It.


My Monday Made It this week is very simple.  I cut out white stars with my Silhouette.


But, here's why.  I'm going to implement Whole Brain Teaching this year.  I started using parts of it last year, to experiment with it, but this year, I'm going all out, at least as much as I can using it for the first time.

One of the features I LOVE is the Super Improvers Team Wall.  I created these labels for each level.

They're a sort of conglomerate of different walls I have seen.  I liked some words from each wall, so I chose the ones I liked and put them in order.  These cards are available in my TpT store.  A buyer asked, so I did add cards for the Sports Theme of words with the same clipart images.  I just swapped out the words.

Back to my stars . . . each student will have a star with their  name on it.  I was able to cut most of the colored stars last Spring when my student teacher was soloing.  I cut them out of copy paper, but the white copy paper was too thin.  I didn't have card stock with me at the time, so I knew those had to wait until now.  I cut them yesterday.  A super easy Monday Made It, I know.

Here's how I cut them:


I created two stars in the Silhouette Studio program.  I did this back in the Spring, but I'm pretty sure that I drew lines and then connected them into a five point star.

Then, I cut out the stars with the Silhouette cutting machine.


Cutting all the stars did take a bit longer than I expected.  But it will be so cool to see them all displayed and the gold stars attached to each student's larger star.


So, what did you make this week?  Go link up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekly Homework {Why I Do What I Do Linky}

I'm linking up again with Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas to share what I do with homework.

I am a minimalist when it comes to homework.  If I had it my way,  I wouldn't assign homework.  I think students need to be outside playing, or inside creating each evening, not doing more schoolwork.  But, since I'm not on our board of education and there is a district policy that I *should* follow, here's what I do.

Last year, I did STAR Homework and our cover sheets looked like this:



I decided it was boring, and didn't give enough information, so I changed it around a bit and this year, my homework will look like this:


I got the idea of Mon-STAR from Teaching Maddeness.  I used some of the same headings that she has on her pages.  I may change the Re-mostars . . . it's not as apparent that it's reminders.

What do we do for homework?  Each night, students have the *option* of doing a

  • 1/2 page of Reading and Math
  • Practice Math Facts
  • Practice Sight Words (for some students)
  • Read for 10 minutes
  • Read for 10 more minutes
I say optional, because I don't grade the homework and (as I said above), I don't care about homework.  It's for the parents mainly.  The 1/2 page of Reading and Math comes from Second Story Window.  They're so easy to copy and handout each day.  It, for the most part follows the order I teach the standards, but it's easy enough for parents and siblings to figure out.

I encourage students to practice math facts and work on their sight words each night.  I used this sight word packet this year, but next year, will use this one.  The difference?  The Irregular Words one is all non-decodable words.  The words don't have traditional spelling patterns and NEED to be memorized.

I also encourage students to read.  If they can read 20 minutes, they get two stars.

Speaking of stars, students give themselves a star for each part of the homework they complete.  We have a long discussion at the beginning of the year about honesty.  For the most part, I think students adhere to it.  There's no really way for me to know, unless, of course, they're not making progress on their math facts and sight words!

Each day, students return the lower portion of their homework sheet for the previous day's homework.  We add up the stars as a class and chart it on this sheet.  I haven't revised it yet this year.


Each column is 10 squares, to match a base-10 stick.  We add up each day and then add it to the previous day's total.  This is how we apply some of our two-digit addition skills during the beginning of the year.  The tens above make adding easy and we add each number by place value.  It's how I introduce two-digit addition and provides a motivational problem to solve.  

Our goal is to get more stars than the previous week.  I don't really keep track of it that well, especially later in the year. I may do some sort of incentive thing next year.  We'll see.

So, how do you do homework?  Is it the bane of your existence as a teacher?  What are your views on homework as a parent and as a teacher?

Favorite Pinterest Boards - Linky

Don't you just LOVE Pinterest?  I'm on there every day looking at all the wonderful teaching resources ideas, gathering ideas for my next unit and lesson.

A few of us sellers decided to get together to share with your our favorite Pinterest boards.  Below is a link to one of our favorite boards.


These boards do not have a ton of product photos on them.  They are boards with anchor charts, videos, activities, and classroom photos where you can see authentic teaching.

I hope you find some wonderful resources and ideas to enhance your teaching this next year!

Do you want to link up?  Add your link below and show us your FAVORITE board.  The rules:  Link up to a Pinterest board that does NOT have a majority of product covers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Professional Books: Free!

In the past 15 years, I have accumulated a ton of professional books.  I buy a couple each year.  When I was getting my masters 10 years ago, I'm sure it more than a couple each year!

At this point, they're just sitting in boxes, not getting used, and I'm pretty much done with them.  So, I'm offering them to you!  For free.

If you want any of these books, let me know.  I'll mail them to you.  I'm just asking you to pay for shipping (Media Mail) via Paypal, which usually ends up being $4 or so.

There is some highlighting, underlining, writing in some of the books.

Here's what I have right now:


The first three are math reference books. They're really good for upper elementary and middle school.  They explain math concepts in easy to understand ways.  The titles are Math to Know, Math on Call, and Algebra to Go.  They'd be great for homeschool families or for teachers who need to brush up on their math skills. GONE!


The second set are Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics and the Josey-Bass Educational Leadership (©2000).  The Ed. Leadership book is updated yearly, I think.  I have an older version.


The third set are pretty motivational and really set a purpose behind my teaching.  The Right to Learn and The Power of Their Ideas.  They set the idea that all students are capable of learning and that is our job as teachers to unlock their learning potential.  Wonderful books!

If you're interested in the books, leave a comment below and I'll email you details about the cost of shipping them to you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Five For Friday.


My numbers this week are completely unoriginal and I'm not even sure I can come up with FIVE things!  My life is so boring during the summers!

One

I forgot it was Friday.  That's what summer is all about, right?

Two

We thoroughly enjoy our boxes of fruits and vegetables from Full Circle.



One boy likes to pretend he's Peter Rabbit.  The other boy didn't know that carrots have green stems.  Each week, we receive a box of fruits and vegetables.  They are so yummy!  It gets delivered right to our door step (can you say time saver).  It's reasonably priced and good!  They have different box options for different size families.  Unfortunately they're only available on the West Coast (WA, ID, CA, AK).  If you're interested, let me know . . . I can get you a coupon code!

Three

This is the current state of our living room!


It's a destroyed fort (the couch cushions) and a mine field (the legos).  My boys don't have my OCD organization gene, at least not yet!

Four

I'm so close to finishing this and I can't wait to be DONE!


My second grade version is pretty popular and I've been asked to create a third grade version.  I just need to finish the answer key.  Simple right?  Well a 69 page answer key to go with the 69 pages of content!

Five

The other thing that we have been enjoying this summer is eMeals.  Basically, you sign up and get free recipes delivered to your email.  They have a variety of eating plans, like 15 of them.  I've tried two of the eating plans and switched between them for a while before settling on the clean eating plan.  It is so yummy!  My husband loves the side dishes even more than the main courses, although those are good, too!  Again, let me know if you're interested and I can get you a discount if I send you an invite.

The thing that I love about eMeals is that it takes the guess work out of dinner planning.  I still have to plan what we're having, but it's new and different.  It's more plug and play.  I'm hoping that as the school year starts up, it will be a load off my shoulders during the evenings.  I won't have to "think" about dinner all the time!

So, how has your week been?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seller's Resources: Blog Planner & Data and Expense Tracker

Are you a teacher blogger?  Are you a TpT Seller?  Did you go to the TpT Conference last week?

I did and got so many great ideas for how to improve my store, my products, and my presence on social media.

One of the things I realized is that I needed to be more purposeful about my posts to social media, including blogging and posting on Facebook.  I do a pretty good job, but I don't really track my progress and set goals about posting.

So, I created a Blog Planner and combined it with an updated version of my Data & Expense Tracker (Excel Document) to create a Seller's Resources Bundle.


There are a ton of blog planners out there.  It's just a matter of finding something you like!  I never did find "just" the right thing, so I created my own.

What's unique about mine?  Well, there are two parts.


Part One is the Blog Planner: The monthly calendar has a checklist of social media places that you can check off.  This list is gray.  I wanted it grayed out a bit, so I could easily see the check marks and so that, if I wrote notes on the page, the text of the checklists wouldn't compete for attention from my eyes.  I'm a visual person and the grayed out list helps me focus on the check marks.

I've included a facing page (or you can print it back-to-back) of to dos, goals vs. actuals, and giveaways.  Although the goals are also in the excel file, it's sometimes nice to see it on a more regular basis than I use the excel file.

There's also a place to list Blog Post Ideas as they come to you.

The blog planner is not editable, but includes months through December 2015.  I'll add more months for 2016 next year.


Part Two is the Excel Document: It's where I keep track of all my expenses, my earnings, my goals, and my benchmarks.  You should have a working knowledge of excel to use this document.  It's not hard, but you should be familiar with the program.  In the excel document, there's a Profit & Loss Statement (we recently refinanced and I was asked for this document), Earnings Tab (with a variety of ways to view your earnings), Goals and Benchmarks Tab (where you can set goals across a wide variety of data points), and Monthly Expense sheets, where you can record your expenses.  The excel document is fully editable.

Both of these documents come zipped together when you download the Seller's Resources Bundle.

Do you sell on TpT?  Would you like a copy?  Comment below and the first three people will get a copy.

Are you interested in selling on TpT?  It's an awesome opportunity of growth.  I have seen a ton growth in my teaching since becoming a seller.  Signing up is easy.  There's a seller's forum to help you get started and many tutorials on the web to walk you through the process of creating resources.

** Disclaimer: I am not a tax consultant.  Be sure to consult your tax person about what expenses you can deduct. 
** Disclaimer: By using the above sign-up link for TpT, I do get a referral bonus, but it does not come out of your earnings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday: Paperback Swap

This post is a little different from my normal book talks where I talk about a specific book. Instead, I'm going to tell you about a wonderful resource where you can get books for your classroom (or yourself), for very little money.


I read a lot.  I probably finish a book a week, a little more during the summer, a little less during stressful times of the school year.  When I was a kid, I would read every chance I could get.  I had a hard time finding things to read in our school library because I had read so many of the books already!

A couple years ago, I stumbled upon PaperBack Swap.  It is a website where you can basically give away the books you have read and in exchange get new books to read, all for the cost of postage.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
Essentially, you register with the site (which is free) and list ten books you're willing to send away.  If someone wants a book, they can request it.  If someone requests a book, you agree to mail it to them within a set amount of days, usually two days.  You can print a label and postage from the website (that's what I usually do because it's easy) or you can write your own labels and take the books to the post office.  You pay for the postage.  That's it.
If you want a book from someone else, you request it and they send you the book.  You only pay for postage for books you send out, not books that you request.
There's also wish lists, where you can wish for books, if they're not available.  You can even wish for books that haven't been published yet (as long as they have a publish date).  I often do that if I've found a good author that I like and I want to request their new releases.  When the book is available, you get an email.  So easy!
For each book you send out, you build up credits.  With each book you request, you use a credit.  If you have a lot of books around your house (like I did), it's easy to accumulate credits.
Here's where it's great for classrooms:  I'm able to request children's books.  Do any of these look familiar?
These DK books are great for my second graders who love informational text.  I have a ton already, but my nonfiction books always seem to get snatched up quickly!  So, I ordered a couple more, when I saw that a member had them available.
With Paperback Swap, it's very easy to build credits and get books for your classroom.  These are used books, so keep that in mind.  You are able to set some "conditions" that the sender should adhere to when mailing books.  I've set mine to indicate that the books should be "like new" and said that they're for my classroom.  Most of the time, I get books that are in terrific shape!
Interested in signing up and trying it out?  Click on the banner below.
Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

** Disclaimer: I do receive a credit for each person that signs up and lists 10 books through the link in the banners on above.  However, that has not included my review of the web site.