Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Made It!

I have never participated in Monday Made It and each week I try to figure out how I can participate because I am not very crafty. I can do lots of cute stuff on my computer, but, sadly, that's where my talent ends. Then, it hit me! I love my mailbox labels, using binder clips and I can repost how I did that. Yay! I have arrived!

These are my students' mailboxes. I typed out their names, laminated them, and taped them to the 2-inch binder clips. I love this idea because they are easy to update and I don't have to worry about labels falling off. I hope you have enjoyed my tip!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My new blog design...and a giveaway!

I am so proud to show off my brand new blog design!
Thanks to Erika and Misty, I now have
an original, one-of-a-kind, blog, that I just love.

In case you aren't familiar with The Honey Bunch Blog Design crew, let me just tell you that Erika and Misty are two of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And, they can actually read minds! I kid you not! Somehow, they both knew what I was looking for and created a blog design that really shows off the kind of person/teacher I am. I love to have fun and I'm always bright and cheery. Just like my blog!

In addition to their Honey Bunch Blog, Erika and Misty both have teacher blogs you should check out.

I would also like to thank Nikki, from MelonHeadz Illustrations.

She also reads minds and created the cute graphics on my blog. I've never looked so cute! And, I love my silly little children!

In honor of my new blog design, I'd like to offer you all a chance to win an amazing product from Learning Resources. Have you ever seen their magnetic border? I love to put border around the outside of my white board and, in the past, I have had to put my own magnets on the border. Boy, that was a pain! It always fell down! This year, Learning Resources came out with a new product and I just love it.

See the pretty pencil border around my white board? Do you know how easy it was too hang? I just took it out of the package and placed it where I wanted it. The back is completely magnetic! It's totally a teacher's dream!

Learning Resources is so sweet! They asked me if I was interested in giving away magnetic border to one of my lucky followers. Interested? Are you kidding? Nothing makes me happier than giving stuff away. Well, I guess winning stuff is pretty awesome, too!

Anyway, the border comes in 3 designs.
Circles, Pencils, Stars, and Stripes


You can choose whichever one strikes your fancy.
Since I'm a writing teacher, it was a no-brainer!

Just use the rafflecopter below to enter.
Good luck to you!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Week of School Activities

I am happy to report that I survived my first week of school! 
It was actually my best first week of school in 18 years.
I already know and love my first and second graders, and they 
came back to me still trained, so
I just needed to train my kindergartners. It's definitely a 
work in progress! They are so stinkin' cute, but, most of them
cannot sit still yet or fight the impulse to blurt out anything
at any time. We didn't accomplish as much as I had hoped, but, I did accomplish the most important thing...keeping them happy and occupied so they wouldn't miss their mommies!

In kindergarten, we brainstormed some rules in the classroom, in the lunchroom, on the playground, and in the hallway. Then, they illustrated their favorite rule in each category.

We also made a class book, introducing ourselves. This is always a hit, because they love when I read it out loud and they have to guess who is who. 

You can find the templates to this book for FREE here!

In first grade, the children completed some stations.

ABC Order

All About Me Essays

Welcome Back to School
Trivia Game

We also made a tree map about First Grade.
The children made their own, but, I forgot to take
pictures. After they made their tree maps, they filled
 out a web like the one below. 
(My awesome student teacher made the above and below charts.)

Next week, they'll copy their web onto pretty paper. When they are done, they'll have a nice 5 sentence paragraph.

You can find these activities in my

My second graders made a class book about our rules and procedures.

They also made the same tree map, web, and 5 sentences paragraph as my first graders. In my back to school activity packet for second graders, I differentiated this activity and made 2 harder versions. However, I chose to use the easier version. (And, I remembered to take pictures!)

Here are some finished paragraphs.

You can find these activities in my

On a side note, my little yorkie, Max, is not thrilled that I returned to work and can't be home loving him all day.

I think he's upset with me! What do you think?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday (repost)

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to share a technology tip!
Towards the end of the the last school year, I discovered this really cool website called Tizmos. It's a kid (and teacher) friendly visual bookmarking site. It captures visual images of websites so members can access their bookmarks from any computer. As a teacher, all you need to do is add the websites your students frequent to the Tizmos homepage. Then, when your students want to go to a particular website, all they need to do is click on the image. It's that easy! Here is a screenshot of what my Tizmos homepage looks like. My students were always able to find the sites they needed without my assistance. 

You can even assign tags to the websites, like kindergarten, first grade, free time, to make it even easier for the children to find what they need. I have some free time games saved and my students just click on the free time tag and then click the game they want to play. This helps them remember that they cannot play these games during  the academic portion of our day. Here is a screen shot of tags:

I received an email from the Tizmos crew, letting me know that they are improving their screenshotting capability so all of our thumbnails are available. That is great because, as you can see in my images, there is one game that does not have a thumbnail. They also said that they are designing a premium version that will have some pretty fancy features. I am really looking forward to getting more information about this! 

I hope you like Tizmos as much as I do! 

I try very hard to respond to every comment I receive and I'm still finding lots of no-reply bloggers. If your email is not associated with your blogger, then you cannot receive emails from bloggers. For step-by-step directions on how how to fix this issue, you can click here. Don't forget to leave a comment on THAT post so I can check to see if you have fixed your settings properly. If you don't hear from me, then it probably wasn't fixed. Oh, one more thing! Kinder-Craze has a really good tutorial on how to disable the word verification box that pops up when people try to leave comments on many blogs. Most bloggers don't even realize that this is happening. There are so many times I want to leave a comment and then the pesky box opens up and I literally click right out of that person's blog. Please, please, please, click here to get rid of that box once and for all. Thanks so much from me and every other blogger who finds it almost impossible to read the letters and numbers in that annoying little pop up!

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Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard