01 October 2017

Easy Student Halloween Gift!

Yes. I was one of those people stalking the Dollar Spot in August waiting for the fun Halloween stuff to come out.

I admit it.

But...it paid off because I found these fun and cheap sticky skeletons that my students are going to love!

I actually found them in the Halloween section just after they started putting stuff out. They were 8 for $1, so 4 packs would cover my class and leave a few extras for my daughter to play with. You cannot beat that!

Then, I made this fun tag to go along with the little sticky skeletons. Since the skeletons are sticky, they stuck to the paper with no problem. I did assemble about 4 of them before I decided it would be in my best interest to wait and stick them at school, lest the become a jumbled, sticky mess in my bag.

The stick font is FriNally by Amy Groesbeck and the script is Chunky Monkey by A Primary Kind of Life. The bones font is called Cartoon Bones, and I downloaded it from DaFont for free.

You can download a freebie copy of this fun gift for your students HERE!

Updated on October 28th to include...this fun spider gift! These are adorable spider erasers from Target. The fonts are both by A Perfect Blend Teaching. The thin font is PB Bean There Dunn That, and the webbed font is PB Morning Witch Brew.

The erasers were from the Halloween section at Target. They were in a package of 8 for only $1!

You can download a free copy of this tag HERE.

Happy Halloween!

31 July 2017

Monday Made It!

Happy Monday, friends! The clock is ticking until school starts back up, and for me...it's ticking pretty fast! We officially reported back to school last Thursday, and it has been crazy busy.

It might seem like we go back to school early, but we have a great schedule. We have a two-week fall break in mid-October, a full week for Thanksgiving, two-plus weeks at Christmas, and a two-week spring break, and not to mention the snow days in between. Plus, we're still out by Memorial Day, so...I won't be complaining any time soon.

But...that early start means that there won't be many more Monday Made Its from me, but I managed to squeeze out a few fun things this week, so let's check them out! You can join in the link-up by heading over to Fourth Grade Frolics.

Coat Hook Labels and Name Tags: Usually I just post the students' names above their coat hook each year. I tried a number system, but then I could never remember which number was who, so I went back to names. Plus I think the kids like seeing their names up there! This year, I decided to be extra crafty and add pictures of each student with their name. It was pretty simple since I could see all the students' pictures in Infinite Campus, our attendance and grading system, and I was able to use these Editable Book Bin Labels by Learning in Wonderland to choose from hundreds of Melonheadz clipart kid images. I was able to find a different image for each kiddo, I added their names, and...voila! Cuteness overload!

And...I liked them so much that I decided to make a separate set to wear on the first day of school as a name tag. I just punched holes in the top and looped a pincher clip through for the kids to clip to their shirts. I like the clips, as opposed to lanyards, because they will be easier to see. I also thought they would be great to keep around in the event of a guest teacher or any other special visitors.

Desk Nameplates: I used to make fancy nameplates to put on each desk. But they always PICKED at them or PEELED the corners, and it made me crazy! Plus, when any standardized testing came along from our district, we had to remove them-lest they actually use that number line or any other useful tool on it when you actually want them to. So, last year I decided I would just write their names on their desks with a thick Sharpie. It worked, but when I wanted a kid to switch seats, it would be days before I would remember to scrub the name off and change it. So....

I came up with this brilliant idea for this upcoming school year. I made the nameplates using an editable template from the Happy Rainbow Collection by School Girl Style and laminated them. However, instead of sticking them on top of the desks, I put them on the front of the desks. Now-this probably won't work for everyone depending on your desk arrangement, but it is better for me because all of my desks actually face me. (If you are familiar with Teach Like a Champion, then this desk setup might ring a bell!) Now I can see everyone's names and they can't mess with them. Win, win! Plus it will be nice for when we have surprise guests, substitute teachers, or new students.

Oh! I also attached them with velcro from the Dollar Tree so they can be easily interchanged. I love it!

Miniature Dice Holders: So, this is a different version of last week's pill box turned dice holder. I ended up finding this pill box at the Dollar Tree, and I especially loved how it was only 3 compartments. (Not to mention the handy dandy carrying case!) I used nail polish remover to get the letters off, and then bribed my hubby to donate more of his miniature gaming dice to the cause that is my classroom. (It's one of the few perks of being a war-gaming wife.)

Here are some of my plans for them:

Place Value Practice: shake, write the number, and identify the value of a number in a specific spot. The kids could even turn the boxes to make the greatest number possible. For example, if you look at the yellow box, is 653 greater or would 356 be greater?

Addition Practice: This would be a great tool for addition with 3 addends. 6 + 5 + 3 = 14 Or you could combine boxes to make multi-digit addends. So, if I used the boxes below, it could be 653 + 552, or it could be 32 + 55 + 65. I can also envision easy differentiation for these activities, too.

The possibilities are endless!

Student Workbook Drawer Labels: Even though my students each have a desk, they do not actually use the inside of it. The desks actually lift open, so you can imagine how everything slides right off the desk anytime I ask them to get something out. And it happens every.single.time they open their desks every.single.day. It drove me nuts. You would think they would learn. But...nope.

So, enter these Rubbermaid drawers. The kids store all of their necessary materials-workbooks, notebooks, manipulatives-in each drawer. Four students share each set of drawers. Since everything stays in one place, there is none of the "I can't find my..." anymore.

So, long story short, I made these fun labels for each drawer using a "Hello My Name Is" free template from I Teach What's Your Superpower?. The kids really didn't have any trouble putting everything where it went, but I like the look of these labels anyways!

Well, that's it for this week! But here is a sneak peak at something I've been working on that I just recently finished up and posted on my TpT store. If you own my Light Box Bundle, head over and download the newest update that includes four adorable unicorn slides. You can see them all HERE.

Have a fantastic week!

24 July 2017

A Unifix Cube Behavior Management Plan

That's right, y'all. All it took was an old box of Unifix cubes destined for Goodwill to save my classroom.

It was a couple of weeks before Spring Break, and I was desperate to find something that would get us to that much needed two-week break without losing it.

It's not that things were out of control. But-there was just enough shenanigan-making to drive me nuts. It wasn't everyone, but it was enough that it was disrupting the entire classroom. I really wanted to acknowledge the kids who were consistently on-task and following our rules, but I needed it to be quick and discreet.

And that was when I saw it-an old box of Unifix cubes in the Goodwill donation pile on my dining room table, and the idea hit me like a ton of, well...Unifix cubes.

It went like this:

Each kiddo starts the day with three cubes. It's basically like three chances. They can lose them for a variety of reasons, and they can earn extra ones for a variety of reasons. At the end of every day, we counted up our cubes, and I wrote the totals in the grade book. After a certain amount of time, I would select a (not so random) number, and anyone who had accumulated that many cubes earned an incentive.

Losing Cubes

The kids can lose cubes for any reason. To be honest, I use it mostly as a behavior deterrent in that I notice the behavior, I move closer to the student (proximity), and I make eye contact, giving the student a chance to knock it off ALL WHILE I'M STILL TEACHING. If the behavior continues, I simply remove a cube from their stick and keep walking. No discussion, no stopping the lesson...nothing. The fact that they lost a cube tells them they were doing something that was not okay.

Now-do discussions happen later? Sometimes, if I notice the student getting all grumpy or sad. But it's a quick conversation that reminds them of the chance I gave them and why I took a cube. I also remind them of the multiple opportunities they have to earn more. But for the most part, the student changes their behavior, and it's done.

What if they talk back or argue when I take a cube from their desk? Well, my kids knew I would swipe another one, so it was best not to talk back or question me while I am teaching. However, if they felt they were treated unfairly, I did hear them out at an appropriate time. Usually it didn't help their cause, but sometimes it did. I also wanted them to know that I was willing to listen to them.

What if they ran out of cubes? This happened on occasion. In our school, students walk laps at recess as a consequence for behavior. They call them "thinking laps." If they went into the hole on their cubes, it was a lap for each time I had to correct behavior. Done.

What about serious behavior issues? Obviously the cubes didn't apply for serious behavior problems. Hitting, swearing, throwing things...those are offenses that are referred straight to the office. The kids knew that any behavior that earned them an office referral would also cause them to forfeit all their cubes for that day.

Earning Cubes

Students can earn cubes for ALL SORTS OF THINGS. Being kind, helping a friend, picking up trash they see in the hallway, working quietly, bringing back a school form...the list goes on and on. They also earn cubes for answering questions...even if they're wrong. It's about effort and focus and trying and participating. My participation level for group discussions go through the roof when I have a handful of cubes with me.

The thing to remember is that sometimes I do give cubes, and other times I don't. The kids know not to ask for them. I just trained them that way when we started the whole thing.

Earning an Incentive

This is the easy and CHEAP part. Usually the incentives revolved around something that didn't cost me a penny and required no work from me. Bring a stuffed animal to school, no shoes for the day, sit by a friend, pillow day, pajama day, crazy hair...you get the idea. When I felt super motivated, we would have doughnuts or cookies and milk or something like that.

But here was the important part-I was very purposeful in the "number" of cubes the kids had to have in order to earn the incentive. Sometimes, one of my toughest kids would only have 5 cubes total after a few days. Well, guess what the lucky number was...5! I didn't do that all the time, but I did want to get as many kids involved in the incentives as possible, and I wanted to reward effort when I saw it. Other times, the number would be 25. It really just varied as I saw fit.

And that's what is so great about this! You make it fit your needs.

I'm serious, y'all. This system worked so well that I am starting it at the beginning of this upcoming school year, and I have high hopes for it. I don't have to worry about stickers, or punch cards, or clip charts. It's such a weight off my shoulders to know that these little cubes can do so much to improve the classroom environment and requires little work from me.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about how I made this system work for me. As with all behavior management plans, what works for one classroom might not work for another. And...just like what works for one class one year might not work with the next class the following year. But...it's definitely worth a try!

10 July 2017

Monday Made It!

Happy Monday, friends! I have been working pretty much nonstop on my graduate classes, but I managed to squeeze in some downtime and do some fun stuff! So, I'm linking back up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for another week of Monday Made It! Head over to her blog now and see some of the other fabulous "made-its" by other amazing teachers.

(Future) Coin Dividers: Okay, so this wasn't as much a Monday Made It as it was a Monday Did It sort of project. I wanted to use these pill boxes in the classroom to hold coins or for place value practice, but those days of the week on the lids stressed me out. I could've covered them, but I knew my quickest solution would be to figure out a way to just remove them. So, I used nail polish remover and cotton balls, and VOILA! They wiped right off! I can't wait to figure out how I will use them first. I'm think mini-dice in each compartment to practice place value, since it's the first unit we teach. But...we'll see!

Summer Postcards: I love sending happy mail to my students over our long breaks. We are blessed to have an amazing school schedule that includes a 2-week fall break, all of Thanksgiving week, 2-week winter break, and a 2-week spring break. We do begin August 2nd, but I'll take an early start to get all those refreshing breaks! Anyways, I like to send my students something through the mail during each break. Postcards are my favorite because I can use the cheaper postage. (#poorteacher) I will be sending these out on Monday, and they will be the last ones for this year's kiddos! 

You can download a free editable version of the summer postcards HERE. Just make sure when you cut them that you stay under the 4"x6" requirement for postcard postage. I posted a couple of the other postcards I've sent below...

This was from this past Thanksgiving. I downloaded the sweet little note template from Polka Dots Please and adjusted the size to make it a postcard.

This was from this past spring break. The little bugs are from Creative Clips (I think!). 

School Bag: My daughter picked out this fun canvas bus tote at the Dollar Spot for $3. I thought it would be fun to add her name on to it, and it turned out even better than I imagined! I used some scrap glitter HTV that I had on hand, and I used my t-shirt heat press to apply it. Now she is all ready for her (second) first day of PreK! (She missed the kindergarten age cut-off by 8 days, so it's another year of PreK for her!) The font I used is by Amy Groesbeck. 

Well, I felt like I did more, but I guess I didn't! Check back next week because I just got access to my class list, so I will start making personalized labels for the kids' cubbies and coat hooks. I'm also still waiting to find out the status of hanging things in our newly painted hallways, so I can figure out a fun hallway bulletin board. Until then, have a great week!

03 July 2017

Monday Made It!

It's time for another Monday Made It! I actually did some calculating today, and there are only 3 more Mondays after today until I go back to work. Summer is really flying by! I love our school schedule (we get a 2 week fall break and a 2 week spring break), but I wouldn't mind a longer summer. The first day back for me is July 26th. So...I better get going on all these summer projects!

I'm linking up again with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. Head over to her blog HERE to see all the other fun ideas shared by teachers.

Back to School Student Gift: This is by far the most fun student gift I think I've ever made! I was looking for something crafty that I hadn't done before, and these little wiggly eyes just popped out to me while I was wandering the aisles at Target one night. The kids love using them for guided reading, and they always begged to take them home. So, this was a great chance to gift them one! They were relatively inexpensive since they were 6 rings for only $2, so I was able to snag enough rings for only $8. I printed the cards at home and used 3D glue dots to secure one eye to the paper. They are seriously the cutest things ever!

You can head over to my TpT store to download the free template. An editable powerpoint file is included, should you want to personalize them. Click HERE to check it out!

Updated Teacher Toolbox: So, if you saw my Monday Made It a couple of weeks ago, I had created some new labels for my teacher toolbox. I liked them...but I didn't love them. You know what I mean? Here's what they looked like:

The colors are perfect, and I liked the way the font stood out. But ultimately, I decided to go with something more modern and clean-looking, and it turned out AMAZING. Here is the finished product:

I had a few questions about the size of the drawers. They are definitely big enough to hold 3x5" index cards. I keep multiple sharpies in the drawers and normal sized (3x3") post-it note pads. I will try to do a separate post with more detailed pictures. I will be uploading them to my TpT store soon, so make sure and check back!

Well...it might not look like I did much this week, but I was in an intensive for my graduate program from last Monday through Thursday in Denver, and I was exhausted. I think I did these two projects mainly to just relax and allow myself to chill out! So...we'll see what I manage to get done this week. 

Have a great week!

26 June 2017

Monday Made It-June 26, 2017

Happy Monday, friends! I am so excited today because I am hosting Monday Made It over at Fourth Grade Frolics! Head over there now to see some of the fun things I whipped up this past week! And...once you're there, make sure and check out some of the other fantastic bloggers who linked up.

Have an amazing week!

19 June 2017

Monday Made It!

Happy Monday! I am linking up again with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics for her summer Monday Made-It! I've been wrapping up a grad class, so my "made-its" are pretty thin this week, but I do have some fun things planned for next week, so make sure an check back! But for now, see some of the fun ideas below, and then head over to Tara's blog by clicking HERE to check our some other great Monday Made-Its!

Content Folders: I found these 7-pocket flexi-folders at Walmart on clearance for $2.97 each. They were regular $6.99. I used one this year to hold my daily sprints, application problems, and exit tickets for my Eureka Math program. I absolutely loved it because I could just reach in a pocket and grab out everything I needed for that day. There was no searching through stacks. Everything was in one place for easy access. Then I would just put the folder in my drawer with my teacher guide.

So...when I found them on clearance, I thought I would buy a couple more to use for my CKLA literacy material. Of course...I couldn't just let them sit there all undecorated! So, I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 to cut the vinyl to label each folder for a specific content area. I can't remember exactly what the fonts are, but the thick one is definitely A Perfect Blend Teaching fonts, and the thin one is either Cara Carroll or Amy Groesbeck. (Hmmm...I should really do a better job of writing down the font names when I create the cut file!)

 Hall Passes: Last year, I found these adorable rubber emoji luggage tags on clearance at Walmart for .50 each. I bought several of them because I thought they would make great hall passes. Mine have a tendency of just getting, well...gross. Since these were rubber, I knew they would be easy to clean! I put the little pincher clip on, and they were perfect! However, I was obviously in a rush to use them because all I did was flip over the address card to the blank backside and write my name in Sharpie. There was a little sheet of plastic covering the card, but they were just starting to look gross.

So...using the same PB fonts, I whipped up these new inserts for my passes. I printed them on cardstock and laminated them for durability. They look so much better and are ready for my new batch of second graders!

Doormat (in progress): If there was a "almost" made-it button, I would be using it for this project! I found this rug at IKEA for $9.99, and I have big plans for it that involve my Silhouette Cameo 3, craft paper, sticky spray, and spray paint. But...you'll have to come back next week to see the finished product! I hope it comes out as great as I'm envisioning it in my mind!

New Brand Design: Okay-so obviously I didn't "make" this myself. But...I did finally make the decision to redesign my brand and blog. I'm working with Becca from Jumping Jax Designs, and I am SOOOOOO EXCITED! Here is a sneak peak at my new logo.

Isn't it amazing??? I just cannot stop looking at it! I cannot wait to see everything when it is all complete. It is crazy how you give someone the most vague ideas of what you want, and they can turn it into exactly what you want! 

I hope you all have a fantastic week!