Friday, July 27, 2012

Classroom is Ready! 2012-2013


So this is what my room looked like when I was able to get into the school 2 weeks ago. Every summer they wax the floors and everything must be up off the floor so I put it on the back counter. After 2 weeks of work this is my classroom:

Back Wall

The back wall is going to be my math focus wall. We are getting a new math textbook this year so I'm waiting until I get those materials to do anything here.

Back Wall_Cabinet

Here you can see my genre posters on the cabinet doors and on the far right it says "Brownie Points." Every time my students get a compliment they earn a brownie. Once the pan is full I bake real brownies for everyone.

CAFE Word Work_Writing

On the left side of the back counter you can see my materials for Word Work and Work on Writing (Daily 5). I'll share a few of those at the end of this post.


These are my cubbies where I have my classroom library. I know, they don't match! But I just couldn't bring myself to paint them black. That would be a huge job to do alone.

Small Group Area

This is my small group table! Behind the table you can see my materials that I use for small groups. On the right side I have reading materials and on the left is math. You can also see my metal supply cabinet that holds all my science experiment materials and goodies!

Teacher Spot

This is my area in the room. I have a document camera and teacher mobi that normally go on the taller table but they were checked into the library before I left for the summer. You can just see the days of the week drawers where I store all my materials for each day of the week. I also used fabric around my desk so it looks a little nicer.

Front Wall
Computer Corner

This is the computer corner. You can see my student mobis and the bag of clickers I just got. I'm not loving the way that poster is looking in the window so I might have to work on making that look a little better.

Entire Room

The is a view of the entire room from the front corner.

HW Board

This is an old Smartboard that we are lucky enough to have. The first batch the school ordered had something wrong with them so they sent new ones and let us keep the old ones. Some of us were able to have them hung in our room to use as a white board. So I have each subject area posted and this is where we write homework assignments, tests, and objectives.

Word Work

This is the shelf that has my writing/word work materials on it. You can see the mini boggle cubes (ordered from Oriental Trading).  The kids use these to play boggle. The dice on the right side are letter dice. Just roll to get a letter and create a hidden letter drawing. The catch? The kids have to write a story to go along with the drawing. On the left side is the basket with trays and Play-Doh. The students use the Play-Doh to write their spelling words for the week (yes, my 5th graders love this).

4 Corners Math

This is one of my math corners. We have 4 Corners, which the groups rotate to throughout the week. This is the fact corner but if you go back and look through the above pictures you might be able to see all 4 corners. We have fact games, number games, strategy games, and paper practice. Before any of the games go in the corner we play them together as a class to learn to play. Then, on a sentence strip, I write the name of the game, number of people that can play, and a picture to help them remember how to play. The cards up here are left from last year. When we start this year the cards will be gone and the crates will be empty. (Where in the world will I put all those math games?) 
Paper plate name

My final project is something I forgot to make a picture of once it was complete. These are the letters I printed and put on paper plates from Target. Each teacher has his/her name above the door to the classroom. So I made these to put up (which I did today). I'll try to remember to take a picture next time I'm at school and post for you to see.

I hope you have enjoyed the mini tour of my classroom. We are having a Meet & Greet this year instead of the traditional open house so I'm planning to do a mini classroom tour via QR codes. That's my project for next week.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Evernote Reading Form

I just LOVE Evernote! I can't wait to start using this next year for my reading records. I'm going to add a place for scores and things like that. My plan is to use the forms for each student instead of creating paper forms and a huge notebook for me to carry back and forth to data meetings.

This top picture is a screen shot of my computer screen from the web version and the second shot is a screen shot from my iPad. They are both the same form. There is a to do list button that allows you to add check boxes on your form. So after I meet with my students I'll check the box next to their area of focus. So if the student is working on comprehension I'll just touch the box and it will add a check! It is also super easy to copy and paste!

Evernote Reading Form

Evernote reading form

I really just transferred the information from the paper form I used last year to Evernote. Then I saved the same form as student 1, student 2, etc. (until I get my student list). I can't decide if I'll add test data to this form or make another. I'll let you know what I decide to do!

Making Things With Borders in PowerPoint

Here is a tutorial to help you make things with borders in PowerPoint. I like PowerPoint better because you can move things around where you want them!

1. To start add a shape- I normally insert a square.
2. Then right click on it and click format shape.
3. Fill- You want to select fill and "picture or texture fill" then choose the photo from your computer that you want to use as your background. My theme is black with white polka dots so that's what I use.
4. In that same box (format shape) you can choose the line color and style.
5. Then add another shape and leave the background white (make sure to match your line color and style here too).
6. Then add a text box on top of everything and type what you want!

Ta-da! That should make it so you are able to make your own custom posters with cute borders. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

First Summer Week in Classroom

So we still have almost a month of summer left but my principal is wonderful and she lets us in the building early. I love having time to get in the room and work at my pace to get things done instead of having to rush and get it done in just a few days. I worked a few hours each day. The great thing is that if I'm not feeling it that day I don't have to work.

So I have seen several people posting about how to display their classroom rules. I did this last year and I really like it. I just used PowerPoint to type the rules and added a text box behind the text to add the polka dots (to match my colors). I glued the rules to the ribbon and then glued the ribbon to the wall. Voila!

Here is the sign I ordered from Vistaprint. I was happy with it because it isn't just heavy paper. The print isn't super sharp but it works for what I need it for. Now I just need to find a place to put it in my classroom wall. It is pretty large so I'll post once I get it on the wall.
Vistaprint sign

Another surprise when I returned to school, we had some babies this summer! I cleaned their habitat and found 7 babies. See the tiny one I circled? That's one of the babies. As you can see we have PLENTY of hissing cockroaches and the sad thing? You can't even see all of the adults in this picture. They love to get under things so there are a lot hiding.


Someone asked me about my Good Job Jar so I snapped a photo today and decided to share how I use it. I give tickets out to my students when they do something good, answer a question no one else knows the answer to, post a comment on the blog, etc. We also do big word every day. I post the scrambled letters for a big word and the kids try to figure out what the word is. The first 3 students to get it right get a ticket and then they come to the Smartboard and rearrange the letters to reveal the big word. I draw tickets on Friday afternoon (this also makes a great probability lesson and I don't even have to "teach" it). We count the number of tickets in the jar and determine the probability of some one's name being drawn. As the year goes, we also find the percent.

I draw 4 tickets. The first 3 are given the choice of a homework pass or lunch with a friend pass. This year I'm going to add iPad time pass that I had made on Vistaprint. Then the last name drawn is the "lucky dog" and that person gets all the passes.
Good Job Jar

I've been seeing these cute drawers on Pinterest so I decided to make some too! My room colors are red, black, and white. Plus I love Hello Kitty so this was just what I needed. I cut the paper and then used my Cricut to cut out little Hello Kitty heads for the labels. I ended up writing on them instead of printing them because it was going to be a pain to print labels and cut them. I love my husband's handwriting but I just did it myself because I wasn't sure what I was going to put in each one.
Drawer Project

The last thing I'm going to share is the app I used to write on my photo. Skitch is a free app that lets you write on photos or add text and shapes.

I'm super excited that I'm almost up to 100 followers. I never thought that would happen! Thanks to all my readers and those who comment.

Friday, July 13, 2012

More iPad Apps

I thought I'd share a few more apps that I've used with my students (or that I discovered this summer). The first one is Measure Map ($1.99). You can go anywhere in the world and measure anything. The first picture you can see the US Space & Rocket Center. I measured the space shuttle and the area and perimeter shows in the top left corner.

Measure Map

Then I found my school and measured an area of the playground. This would be great for kids to use to measure things they are familiar with.

Measure map 2

Lobster diver

Lobster Diver (free) is an app to review numbers, fractions, and decimals. The kids love it! You have to dive down at the given number without getting hit by the eel. There is also a section where you have to cut an eel into pieces using the fraction given.

Lobster diver 2

Symmetry Shuffle is great to help students review translations, reflections, and rotations. As you can see, the app uses both terms (slide/translation) so it works with multiples grades. When you start all the cups are sepia and you have to move the boxed cup around and place it on top of the cup the correct way to make it change to a colored cup.

Symmetry shuffle

The last one is called Factor Samurai and it reminds me a lot of fruit ninja. Different numbers fly up and if they are prime you don't cut it. But if it is composite you slice it into factors.

Factor Samurai

I'm excited that I'm going to be able to get into my classroom to start working next week. So I'm sure I'll have some pictures to share next week.

Don't forget to check out my Teaching Resources page! I'm still working on it and if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Virtual Manipulatives on the iPad

I decided I would share some of my favorite virtual manipulatives! I have these apps on my iPad and can't wait to try them out with my students next year.

Dice is the first (free) app I want to share. This app allows you to choose the color and number of dice. You can have from 1-20 dice and they can be red, white, black, blue, green, or yellow. I think this will be great because dice are forever rolling in the floor and kids are down on their hands and knees looking for them. This app will keep them from searching and actually stay focused on the math games.

Dice app

Geoboard is up next and the best part? This one is free!! I love using geoboards but hate getting them out because it never fails, a rubber band breaks. Ever have a students you weren' sure could handle all those rubber bands (tempting right)? This allows you to use the geoboard without having to worry about rotting rubber bands or flying rubber bands.

Geoboard app

Coin Toss is another free app. This one allows students to toss a coin to learn about probability without that problem of finding the coin when it falls or the sound of the coin over and over!

Coin toss app

Do you know about Virtual Manipulatives? It is a free app that gives you fraction bars to manipulate. When you press and hold the fraction piece it also shows the equivalent percent and decimal!

Fraction bar app

GA-Spinner (free) is a spinner app that allows you to use a spinner with the touch of a finger. When the spinner stops it says the number and color of the space you land on.

GA Spinner

Magnetic ABC ($1.99) is an app I found and couldn't pass up. The bottom scrolls between the alphabet, numbers, symbols, and some pictures. My plan for this app was to have students create incredible equations and then use Educreations to record an explanation.

Magnetic ABC

So I spent some time with my niece, Kayla, this weekend. She just finished Kindergarten and I asked her if she would help me play with this program. We took a screen shot of the problem we created in Magnetic ABC.

Started w/magnetic abc

Then we brought it into Educreations and she explained her thinking as she solved the problem. Yes, you can hear her sisters because they wanted to play with the iPad too. And yes, I know I am super country! I hate listening to myself on a recording but I still wanted to share.

Can you see the possibilities for using this in the classroom? I can't wait!

Another Vistaprint Order

Small Banners Vertical by Vistaprint

I just placed another Vistaprint order! I have seen this poster on Pinterest and I decided to type it up and make a banner. I can't wait for this one to come in. I also ordered magnets with my contact info to give to parents at open house (they were also free). 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Currently- July

This is my first time to do one of these but I've seen them on lots of blogs so I thought I'd give it a shot!
Head on over to Oh Boy 4th Grade to link up!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Using Infographics with Students

Call me silly, but I'm so excited! I now have 70 followers. I'm always excited when I visit my site and see that I have new followers. I guess building my PLN on Twitter also helps build my blog followers.

I've been seeing a lot of infographics pinned on Pinterest and I just pass them by. But this week I started thinking about how these could be used in the classroom. So I started pinning them myself. I found this post about Creating Infographics with Students and I think I've hit the jackpot! I can see myself using this with my students next year to help them organize data.

I also found a great post about infographics on Integrating Infographics into the iClassroom. This is the first infographic that really got me thinking about using them in the classroom.

Last year my students used Glogster and they loved it, but I think this might be a good tool to start with creating infographics with my students. I also found, which is another site where you can make infographics.

My wonderful PLN (thanks @flyonthecwall) also shared these links with me that you might want to check out if you are also thinking of using infographics in the classroom:

So I'd love to hear if any of you use infographics in your classroom. If you do, how do you use them? What do you use to create them?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blog Awards from Kim

Thank you to Kim at Kisses from a Frog for the 2 blog awards!

  1. Follow the person who gave you the award.
  2. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
  3. Pass the award on to 15 bloggers.

The rules for this award are as follows:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Include a link to their site.
  3. Include the award image in your post.
  4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
  6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
So since I got the Versatile Blogger Award I'm going to share 7 random facts about me.

1. Kim, I have kissed a frog too! It wasn't alive so that might make it a little gross to some of you. We dissect frogs at the end of the school year every year. My kids just love it!

2. I LOVE photography! I'm a self taught photographer and I get out to take pictures whenever possible. I even have a photography blog. My favorite type of photography is macro!

3. I'm the only teacher at my school that knows what a refrigerator smells when the power was out for over a week and I had a freezer full of bugs. I collect bugs and students are always bringing me new ones for my collection.

4. My favorite music is rock or alternative. My favorite bands are Buckcherry, Seether, & Egypt Central.

5. My favorite color is black.

6. I love stamping and card making! This is a card I made just last week.

7. I'm a big NERD! I love reading, learning, and sharing.

So I'm going to nominate the following bloggers:

Science Notebooking

Teaching is Elementary

What the Teacher Wants

Teaching Star Students

Learning in Bliss

Finding Joy in 6th Grade