Saturday, November 28, 2015

TpT Top Wishlisted Link Up

Get ready! Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday sale on November 30 & December 1.
Save up to 28% sitewide (with the stores who are participating) with promo code SMILE.

Today I'm linking up with Teaching in the Tongass for her TpT Wishlist Linky. Here are a few of my top wishlisted items in my store (you can click any of the photos to see more about the product listed)...

My teacher planners are one of my favorites in my store. There are 5 different themes available to choose from, and the best part is that you buy it once and get the updates each year for free.

Looking for a quick and easy way to organize your classroom with a cute polka dot theme? My polka dot classroom organization labels are editable to fit your needs, but also include tons of pages of pre-made labels.

Grammar & figurative language seems to be something that students always need reminders for, no matter what the grade level. These posters are simple, yet bright and great for grades 2-6.

Be sure to visit Teaching in the Tongass to see the top wishlisted items in other teachers' stores.

Teaching in the Tongass

Monday, October 5, 2015

Daily Classroom Schedule Signs & Giveaway

I am absolutely loving the switch to 6th grade this year! My class has been amazing and the change in curriculum has been fun, too. With the change in grades, I decided to change up how I did some things in my classroom as well.

This year I stepped away from daily schedule cards (which I used with magnets on my whiteboard) and moved to schedule signs. Makes my mornings so much faster.

(I know, some of my times are wrong, but I've fixed them since taking these pictures at the beginning of the year.)

After several requests, I added the signs (in an editable PowerPoint) to my store.

Enter to win the Daily Classroom Schedule Signs on the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway ends Saturday, October 10 @ midnight (MTN). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Celebrating a Milestone with a #FlashFreebie

A few weeks ago I hit my first "official" TpT milestone. TpT contacted me and asked me if I was interested in featuring one of my paid products as a flash freebie for one week to celebrate. How could I say no?

My Grammar & Figurative Language Posters are now *temporarily* free until Saturday, October 10th (midnight EST).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Classroom Reveal: 2015-2016

Woo! It's been a looooong two weeks for me, but my classroom is finally about done. My bulletin boards don't have any content, but that's the least of my worries. It's good enough for me at this point.

Warning: This post is photo heavy. And I've also included links to everything in my classroom because that's what I generally get the most questions about -- "Where did you get...?" Hopefully that helps! ;)

I got over my fear of my Silhouette Cameo and started cutting out vinyl for my classroom this year... I bought it before school started last year, but was clueless on how to even begin, so in the box it sat. One of my 6th grade teammates this year taught me how use the Cameo, and now I'm good to go.

I made this Melonheadz nerd for my door window. She's just the best.

Directly above my door is my Green Bay wall... I still need something else for the right side of the clock. ;)

Curtain: Target // Curtain Rod: Target // Curtain Clips: Target // Green Bay Swag: NFL Shop

I am not a monthly calendar {where you have to change the numbers/month title each month} type person...or a birthday chart person. I always buy a monthly desk calendar from Target and hang it on my wall by the door. I write tests, events, birthdays, etc. on this calendar and then the kids and parents can check it whenever they want. Much easier.

My charter is "entrepreneurial focused", so I have my entrepreneur signs by the door. My class mission statement {which is required at our school} will also go by the door once my class writes it together. Also, every Friday students nominate a classmate for Role Model of the Week. They love it. {More on that in another post.}

My whole "theme" this year is rainbow and chalkboard. Everyone is kind of like... "wha-?" ... because I've always been the chevron-obsessed teacher. Even students know me as the chevron teacher. I had to change it up. New classroom + new grade = new theme. Plus, I think this theme is so much easier to coordinate everything with. I am in love.

This new classroom could be the death of me though, as far as setting up desks. They may just stay this exact way the whole year. I tried...and tried...and tried. 27 is not a good number for desks...or groups. I had desk setup down to a science in my last room -- probably because I had been in there for three years.

I use black felt on my bulletin boards. I've had the same felt for the last three years. I love that it doesn't fade and you can't see the holes from hanging things up. Plus, it's much easier to hang than butcher paper, and you don't have to overlap it.

Borders: Creative Teaching Press -- Chalk It Up! Dotted Swirl Border & Painted Palette Rainbow Paint Chip Border // Subject Banners: Amy Groesbeck // Mini Clothespins // Twine // Command Hooks

Classroom Supply Labels: Maria Manore // Colored Drawers: Target

This year I am not hanging up a daily schedule that changes. I am so over that. It just doesn't work for me. Instead, I created signs to hang in the room. Good enough. ;)

Borders: Creative Teaching Press -- Chalk It Up! Dots on Chalkboard! White Border & Painted Palette Ombre Rainbow Scallops Border // Subject Banners: Amy Groesbeck // Mini Clothespins // Twine // Command Hooks // READ Strategy: Amy Groesbeck // Short Bookshelves: Walmart

My library has shrunk, quite a bit. I had to store two big totes of books that are too low for sixth grade. And since I'm obsessed with books, I'm sure I'll fill it all right back up.

Library Baskets: Really Good Stuff {square / medium rectangle / large rectangle} // Library Basket Label Holders: Really Good Stuff // Basket Labels: I made them, but I don't have the black ones in my store yet. // READ Letters: Tutorial on My Blog // Subject Banners: Amy Groesbeck // Mini Clothespins // Twine // Command Hooks // Tall Bookshelves: Target // Writing Center: Really Good Stuff // Stools: IKEA // Small Black Tables: IKEA

I have a librarian student job position in my classroom and two years ago one of my students came up with the idea of having library hours and an open/closed sign. Since my library was always by my whiteboard, it was just a sign that hung with a magnet. Now that my library is on the opposite side of the room from the whiteboard, I needed a new way to display the open/closed sign. One of my sweet girls that I have this year {and had two years ago...and her mom is the assistant principal at my school} came in to help me with my classroom this week and had this brilliant idea of just sticking the signs in the outside sleeves of a binder. That way, it stands up and is easy to display. #genius

Last year I had my students take the 40 Book Challenge. This year, we're going to go at it again. I made genre signs for the genres they have to read from so they can easily identify books. I've also put genre stickers inside the cover of every book. {That took a lifetime last year to accomplish, but I'm so glad I did!}

Love this sign. A student who I had two years ago painted it for me for my end of year gift. I have her again this year...she's so lucky! ;)

Shelving Unit: IKEA // Rainbow Drawers

3-Drawer Storage // 3-Drawer Labels: Ladybug's Teacher Files

White Cart: IKEA // Turquoise Cart: IKEA // Tall Bookshelves: Target // Mini Whiteboard Easels: Scholastic Reading Club {you have to use your bonus points to get them}

I made this with my Silhouette Cameo, too! All three 6th grade classes have this above their whiteboards. It's our grade level motto this year. I absolutely love it!

Class Hand Signals: My TpT Store // Student Mailboxes: Really Good Stuff // White Storage Boxes: Target // Clear Document Boxes: Really Good Stuff // Dry Erase Dots {green / blue} // Subject Banners: Amy Groesbeck // Mini Clothespins // Twine // Command Hooks // Small Black Table: IKEA // Arrow: IKEA // Blue Pocket Chart // Decor on Top of Student Mailboxes: Target Dollar Spot

Voice Level Posters: My TpT Store

This wall seriously needs something...

And those hooks...I can't even. Not going to work for 27 sixth graders...especially since there aren't 27. There are 26. Stop it. Sure, they added some over by the door, but they are not useful because I have tables and computers and such there. My sanity will be tested.

I still have more to hang up, but I'll get there. My classroom looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Upper Elementary Back-To-School Blog Hop & Giveaway

Can you believe it's already August? Where did the month of July go?

To help make this month a bit easier for ya'll, a handful of upper elementary bloggers have joined forces to bring you a blog hop with tips and brand new freebies (that aren't available in our TpT stores)! Plus, to sweeten the hop we're giving away $120 in TpT gift cards!

My Back-to-School Tip...

I always want parents to be "in-the-know" and don't want them to feel like they can't contact me because they're unsure how to. After all, a partnership between school and home make a child's education as successful as it can be.

I've always ordered teacher contact info business card magnets from VistaPrint and give them to parents at Back-to-School Night. That way they can hang it on their refrigerator at home and always know our class blog URL, my email address, etc. Well, this year I changed grades (from 4th to 6th), which meant I couldn't reuse what I had leftover from last year. And unfortunately VistaPrint will only let you order in sets of 25...and I have 27 students, some of which split their time between their parents. I really didn't want to order 50 because who knows where I'll be next year (which is no secret at my school - I'm thinking of moving back east after this year).

So I figured, why not just make my own? Easy enough and they're definitely way cuter! All I did was type in my info, print on cardstock, laminate, and I will put a magnet on the back as soon as they arrive from Amazon. {The ones I buy have adhesive on one side, so they're super easy to adhere.}

To download this {exclusive to my blog} freebie, click the image below. I have shared it via GoogleDocs, so please download the file from GD and open in PowerPoint from your computer. The fonts will not show up correctly if you try to edit the file in GD.

Thanks for hopping by and reading my tip! Hopefully this freebie will be beneficial to you as well!

Enter the Giveaway...

All of the upper elementary bloggers have pitched in to give away $120 in TpT gift cards! There will be 5 winners total - one $50, two $25, and two $10. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep on Hoppin'...

Be sure to continue on the blog hop and visit Teaching the Stars for her back-to-school tip and freebie!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 3rd & 4th

Get your carts ready, my teacher friends! Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School sale August 3rd & 4th! Save up to 28% sitewide (with the stores who are participating) with promo code BTS15.

Moving to 6th grade this year, my cart is already stuffed with new resources and clip art! I'm glad that they decided to have the sale earlier this year so that I can get things printed, copied, laminated, etc. before my students come back on August 19th.

When do your students come back to school?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

ClassDojo in the Upper Elementary Grades
Let me start off by letting ya'll know that ClassDojo has not endorsed this post at all. I absolutely LOVE ClassDojo, and I'm excited to tell you all about how I use it in my upper elementary classroom!

There are so many ways for teachers to track behaviors, and most seem to be geared towards the primary grades. When I first entered teaching in 2011, I was placed in a 2nd grade position. I used the infamous clip chart. {I know, I know...2011 was not that long ago. But man, have we all come a long way in how digital files/projects/etc. look since Pinterest and TPT became big. Ha!} Clip chart effective for primary grades? Absolutely. Moving that clip or flipping that card...woo! Major effect on those young ones.

Well, primary grades are just not for I moved up to 4th grade my second year teaching. I tried the clip chart for about two months and then found myself frustrated one day after school and literally tore it down. (Don't worry...the kids were gone.) I tried whole class rewards... individual rewards... classroom economy incentives... rewards cards... I was going out of my mind.

In the middle of the 2013-2014 school year, I discovered ClassDojo. {I'm sure I heard about it on Facebook or a teacher blog...I don't remember, specifically.} I tried using it a little throughout the year, but didn't keep up with it. Students really liked it, and parents liked the immediate feedback they could receive just by logging into the app or website.

My biggest issue? I had no idea how to make it all meaningful for students. Those who had parents that didn't sign up to check their behavior report didn't care about the whole thing. What did it matter to them? That summer I racked my brain to figure out how to make it all mean more for every single student. (I go into detail about that below...)

Flash forward to this past school year. I decided from day one that I would do my best to completely implement ClassDojo into my classroom. I sent home parent/student sign up codes for online use on the first day of school. I committed, because they had just introduced their built-in messenger, and parents were using that as their main source of communication with me -- especially those with children who were known as needing some work on their behaviors in the classroom. ;)

First of all -- you can use ClassDojo on your phone, tablet, or computer. {Apps and website.} I can use ClassDojo on my iPad. I can use it on my phone while out at recess to give/deduct points. I can login online when my iPad dies or we're using it for an audiobook. There's no excuse to not be able to access it. Despite what one of my new teammates would say. ;)

If you can get everyone on your team to commit to ClassDojo, you can share classes, which is perfect for period/subject rotations. Last year in 4th grade we shared our classes with each other so that we could give/deduct points. It's so nice because then you know exactly who was on-task (and who wasn't) when your class is elsewhere.

Everything is instant. Someone misbehaved in class? Parents know as soon as they check the app. Someone earned 5 points for being nominated as student of the month? Boom - parents know. Speaking of 5 can weight certain behaviors as more points (up to 5). And of course, being student of the month is deserving of some hefty bonus points!

The built-in messenger feature is pretty convenient, too! Parents can check their child's report and quickly send you a message to ask questions about deductions or let you know how proud they are for points earned. You can also comment on points if you want to be specific and let parents know what happened. Perfect parent communication log, all right there within ClassDojo. {You can download messages or the whole communication log if you need to, as well!}

Students can login at home with their student code and customize their monster avatar. This is obviously the coolest part about it...for them.

So what to give/deduct points for? That's completely up to you. It's all customizable to your needs. Here's what I used last year...

Yes, I have a Dojo monster...because my students think it's hilarious to give/take points from me.

One of my classroom jobs is Dojo Officer. This person cannot take points away {unless they're taking away from me...}, but will do participation points for me while I teach and will walk around and give points during projects, assignments, etc. This is a highly coveted position in my classroom.

Making ClassDojo matter - regardless of whether or not a parent was tracking it at home - was tricky, but I decided to make their points "redeemable" at the end of each month. They caught on quickly and were all itching to get into that treasure box. {The image below shows my reward poster.} I tracked their points at the end of each month on a checklist in my planner so that I could reset their points immediately {in the rare case that I forgot / couldn't get to redemption time}. Plus, students thought it was pretty cool when they "beat" their points from the month prior. They would always ask what their "previous score" it's a video game.

I read about the 100 Points Club on FlapJack Educational Resources' blog and decided my high rollers needed a place to show off. I downloaded the {FREE} clip art from ClassDojo's website and setup the images in the Silhouette software, printed them on cardstock, then had my Cameo cut them out. I laminated them, too. {Tedious work...but I didn't let the kids keep them at the end of the year since it was such a debacle doing it.} They're so flippin' cute!

So once they earned 100 points {total}, they got to choose a monster and I wrote their name on it in wet erase marker. They just thought they were so cool when they got to choose their monster for the 100 Points Club. 

I created a FREE ClassDojo Rewards Pack and uploaded it to Teachers Pay Teachers yesterday. I've included some of the resources I talked about in this post within the pack.