Friday, August 30, 2013

Welcome Back and Five for Friday!

Holy Moly it's finally Friday!  This is my first blog post of the school year!  We have already been in school for three weeks and it has been crazy busy getting back in the swing of things!  I am so excited to share my first Five for Friday for this 2013-2014 school year!

#1: QT in Colorado with my family!! :)

To start off this week, I got to spend a long weekend out in Colorado with my family!  My entire family got to get together to celebrate two special occasions together. My fourth niece just turned one and she and her older sister got baptized this past weekend.  We all had a blast celebrating and being together.  Lots of fun times playing "Celebrity," going to Red Rocks Amphitheater, going down the Alpine Slide, Sunday Funday in downtown Denver and ending the trip with a "kid-style" swimming party!  We all enjoyed silly games of "Categories," teaching the little ones how to dive, chicken fights, and swimming races!  It was so much fun to be a little kid again!

#2: QR Code Scavenger Hunt with Base 10 Blocks

In the middle of the week, I got to introduce QR Codes during math time.  Our current math unit's focus is one place value-understanding ones and tens place.  Most students had a a good understanding of this, so we did a little extension activity using the hundreds place.   Carrie and I started using QR codes last year and we couldn't believe the positive reaction we got from students.  So we figured we might as well start this school year off with some fun QR code activities to get the engagement and motivation for learning going right away!  Kristen Kennedy over at I teach 1:1 has a fabulous Base 10 Blocks QR Code Scavenger Hunt *FREEBIE!*  Kristen has a variety of QR code task cards and scavenger hunts that are just awesome!  So if you're trying to change things up in your classroom, give QR codes a try and head on over to hear store for some wonderful resources!!  See what a difference it makes in your student's engagement and motivation in learning and practicing skills!

#3: Whole Body Listening Larry at School 

Soooo....the beginning of the year is always the most critical time of the school year to get our little friends familiar with expectations, routines, and structures.   Our students need the constant practice and understanding of rules, expectations, routines, and social emotional learning to help them have a successful year.  We have done a variety of lessons and activities to help us prepare for independent learning, how to be safe, responsible, and respectful and follow the First 20 Days by Fountas and Pinnell to help our little friends get ready for guided reading time.  

While everything above are great, practical, and effective ways to instill classroom procedures, I knew I needed a little something more.  We have some friends who need a little extra help understanding what it looks like to be a good listener so they can "learn the most they can." (That's our school motto!)  While I was doing some internet searching for ideas, one of Erica Bohrer's facebook links popped up on my screen! I was in the right place and the right time to learn all about Whole Body Listening Larry at School. Erica Bohrer had a great post on "Whole Body Listening Larry at School" that I just had to order the book!  She also has a great freebie that went along with the big ideas of the book.  Her cute posters and activity prompted me to create some of my own activities to go along with the central message of whole body listening.  I wanted to incorporate fun hands-on activities where students could work together in groups to help build confidence and a greater understanding of how your eyes, ears, mouth, hands, heart, brain, and body all play a special role in how to be the best listener you can be!

After reading the book to the class, we held a class discussion about the problems that occurred and how people feel when you do/don't listen well to others, and how the characters in the book could have been better listeners using their Whole Body (brain, eyes, mouth, ears, hands, feet, body, heart).

I created a little pdf activity that had a handful of pictures of behaviors that either demonstrated Whole Body Listening or didn't (using our Promethean Board).  Then students had to decide whether or not the students in the pictures were demonstrating good Whole Body Listening Skills or not and give some reasons why. I couldn't believe it but the students were much harder critics than I anticipated! Students got to come up to the board and scan the QR Code to see if their response matched the response on the page. 

Next, we played another game where I asked the students a question about "What part of the body do you need to use in order to look at the person talking?" or "What part of the body needs to be quiet to help you listen?" etc. Students worked in their table teams to come up with the answer.  Students whispered their answers to each other (helped promote community building).  I called out a "student's number" at random to come scan the QR Code on the board!  Students were jumping out of their seats in excitement every time they got the answer correct.  It was so much fun to see how engaged they were in this activity and working together to figure out the answers.   

Next, students got to do an independent practice activity showing us what they understood about Whole Body Listening.  Students had to use their background knowledge and refer back to the Whole Body Listening Larry at School story to figure out which body part matched the correct definition of Whole Body Listening.  Example:  "looking at the speaker"-answer eyes.  Students would write the answer and then scan the QR code to find out if they were correct!  It was a great hit! 

Click here to get your own Whole Body Listening QR Code Activities!

Lastly, we added a community building activity to help us engrain all of the body parts of Whole Body Listening.  Students worked in groups of four to trace, draw, and label the parts of the body that help with Whole Body Listening.  I loved how this activity helped students learn about how to work together, problem-soling, take turns, agree on who was going to do what, patience,and simply getting to know others in their class!  

#4 Kinders Learning Their Numbers

My friends down in the Kindergarten wing are jumping right into number rec!  Students are working hard on recognizing numbers 1-10 and counting from 1-10.  Students enjoyed some counting activities from my "Math Centers: Number Recognition 1-25 {Common Core Aligned} Pack.  I'm so glad I was able to help the K-Team use hands on activities to reinforce common core skills!  Looks like they had great fun, right??!?

#5  Busy, Busy TpT Making!!

This past week I have been crazily busy finishing up some TpT products!! I finally made some toolbox labels! Click here for your own set!

I also created another activity for Kinders learning to recognize numbers 1-20. Bottle Cap fun!  Click here

Lastly, I created QR Code task cards to meet 2nd grade Common Core Place Value Skills.  Click here.

Happy Friday Everyone!! :)  Ready to relax this long Labor Day weekend!! :)


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Time

Ahhhhhhh!!!  Blog neglect!  It's been crazy with back to school time that our poor blog has been neglected.  We have so much to catch you up on!  Let's start with the upcoming TPT sale!

Sale starts Sunday, August 18th (TODAY) and lasts till tomorrow Monday, August 19th.  Our stores will be 20% off, along with the TPT discount makes it 28% off.  Be sure to put in the promo code - BTS13 in order to get the complete 28% off!  Click on the pictures below to shop in our TPT stores.


Here are some of the newest items we've added to our stores.  
Just click on any picture to find out more details about each item.

Carrie's Store
Superhero Theme



Pirate Theme


Ladybug Theme


Other Classroom Decor


Caitlin's Store





Back to School Time . . . . .
We've been busy getting ready for back to school.  We started with our staff inservices on August 5th.  Summer was too short as far as I'm concerned!  Our students' first day was Wednesday, August 14th.  Right now, there are 20 students in our class.  I forget how much we have to do at the beginning of the year to get the room ready and to prepare our students.  It's exhausting!!  Here are some pics of new things I added to my room.

Finally updated our library.  I bought new bins at Dollar Tree and created new labels for each bin.  I'm in the process of adding labels to the outside of each book that match the label on the bin so students know where to return the books too.  Hopefully this will work!

Recreated our mailboxes and I love it!!  Added black and white polka dot washi tape to the edges and laminated colored paper to tape inside each box.  I added scrapbook numbers to binder clips and clipped those to each box.  It just brightens up the room!

 Lunch Check In - I'm loving the polka dot numbers.  A last minute creation!

I've been doing a LOT of laminating to prepare for back to school!!  Love my Scotch personal laminator and I don't know what I'd do without it!!

Last but not least, I have participated in a Back to School Blogger Exchange with Covered in Glitter and Glue.

This was such a fun idea and I loved shopping for my exchange partner, Lisa @ Learning is Something to Treasure.  I adore her blog and love following her on TPT, so I was thrilled when I received her name as my exchange partner.  She did an amazing job shopping for me and I absolutely love everything!!

My package was filled with lots of polka dot items (my fav), post-its (which I desperately needed), scento markers (can't wait to try these), bookmarks (my kiddos loved these!), chevron tape (love it!), fun polka dot binder clips (similar to the ones I sent her), new pens (the only kind I use!), and a new sparkly polka dot notebook (came in handy during our inservice trainings). 

A big THANK YOU to my exchange partner Lisa and to Covered in Glitter and Glue and Adventures of Ms. Smith for hosting!!!

So after this long blog post, I am going to get some sleep.  Did I mention how exhausting back to school time can be??

Don't forget to that TPT sale - starts NOW and ends Monday!!