Five for Friday {Back to School Edition}

TGIF, y'all!  We made it!!!  The first week of school with kiddos was a great success!  So I'm linking up with Kacey to show you a little of what we've been up to:
One of the things that's improved my teaching the most is being a mom to my two sweet boys.  I look at things from a different perspective as a teacher now and I really try to form a positive relationship with my students and their families right away.  So on the first day of school, I had each kiddo hold a little sign while I took a first day picture.   Then that night I emailed each parent a little note and attached the picture to the email.  It was such a great way to open the lines of communication from the start!

To try and help to get to know one another, we did several activities from my Back to School Blacklines pack.  They really loved this clipboard craft, especially because with the help of a binder clip, you can really open and close the top of the clipboard.  I picked this one to show you because you have to check out the lips on that bus driver, haha!

We read this book and talked in depth about how our mouths can sometimes be like volcanoes and "erupt" (super cute book if you've never read it!)  Then we made these little volcanoes and the students wrote one strategy that they could use when they feel like they want to "erupt" or interrupt.  This is a great lesson for kids of all ages!

We also spent quite a bit of time getting our Interactive Notebooks together.  I am planning to try to do Interactive Notebooks for all subjects so I requested that my kiddos bring in five subject notebooks.  We tore out two of the dividers to make a large section for ELA, a large section for Math, and then a section for Science and Social Studies together (I do alot of projects in these subjects so I don't think we'll need as much space).  I let the students decorate the front of their notebooks with stickers.  (And heard from many while they were decorating that I was the best teacher ever.  Who knew it just took some stickers?).  Then we added some Post-it tabs to the dividers to help them easily find each section.  Later we will use Post-it flags to hold our spots in each section.  Then we numbered the pages in each section and got to work.  We started by gluing some mini posters of the Math Practice Standards that my county provided into our notebooks and we talked about each standard and what it looks like.
Finally, it wouldn't be the first week without a funny story!  After going over several routines and procedures, I had my students do Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up to find a partner.  Then they were given directions to tell their partners one thing that they have learned about our classroom's rules/procedures so far.  When all partners were finished talking, I asked a few kids to share with the class.  One little girl looked right at me and simply said, "I learned that Mrs. Smith don't play!"  She went on to explain that when I was talking no one else better talk.  Well, I think that pretty much sums up my week friends, LOL! 

I hope you all have a restful weekend!  


Five for Friday

Oh my, y'all, I am worn out and just exhausted!  This was my first week back to school and it was a whirlwind of meetings, decorating my classroom, meetings, greeting my new kiddos and their parents, and more meetings.  (Anyone else start out the same way???)  But I am happy to say that I was all ready for Open House last night and had a terrific turn out.  All of my kiddos seemed so excited and I just know it's going to be an awesome year!

So even though I about to drag myself to bed soon, I wanted to link up with Kacey and show some of what I've been up to this week:


Bulletin boards...I kinda have a love/hate relationship with them.  I love looking at cute boards but I hate putting them up.  Well now that we have no Teacher Assistants at our school (and my former one was fabulous at handling my boards for me), I guess I'm gonna have to start enjoying them again.  Here is my welcome board, which is just outside my classroom door:

Then there is another board between my room and my neighbor's (our TA used to always put this up for us too).  I wanted to put something up that the kids would enjoy.  I saw the cutest board on Pinterest (there was no source at I can't credit it) and it inspired me to do a Despicable Me themed board.  I love how the minions turned out and the kids thought it was cool (my own sons wanted to put the minions up in their bedrooms)!

My classroom set are a few pics of my room.  My room gets a lot of sunlight so there seems to be a glare in lots of pictures...gotta figure out how to fix that!  I have a Hollywood theme but have really toned it down to more of a red/white/black scheme with some Hollywood stuff thrown in there.  Here is where I post my standards, vocabulary, and my literacy focus wall stuff (it's not complete yet).

Here's my computer area, math practice standards posters, and pocket chart for homework turn in (wow, my computer cords are sloppy, lol):

Now for the guided reading area, Bloom's Taxonomy posters, and my board to track AR and Accelerated Math:
This shows part of my classroom library:

My fancy wreath...Wow!  That's all I can say about this wreath.  One of my sweetie's mom made (that's right, I said MADE) this beautiful wreath in our school colors for me to hang on my door.  It looks amazing and I absolutely love it!  I also had two super sweet girls make gifts for me and give them to me at Open House (forgot to get a picture though).  One cutie made me a pen with a Duck tape flower and a bracelet and the other made me a Duck tape bag and wrote a precious little note.  Melt. my. heart!  
So I don't think I've talked much about this but a former student's mom asked if she could train me in Crossfit.  I have worked with her all summer and have done things that I never thought I'd be able to do. Crossfit makes me feel strong and has definitely boosted my energy level.  Oh yeah, and it doesn't hurt that I've lost weight! I'm going to try hard to keep working with her throughout the school year.  I worked out with her four times this week even though I've been working like a crazy lady to get my room ready so there's hope.
Laundry...please tell me I'm not the only one!  This was my first week back to work and already the laundry's been sitting piled up for a few days.  I just haven't had a second to sit and get it folded.  And it's surely not going to happen tonight.  I'm headed to bed soon...have a great night friends!

Math on My Mind Giveaway Winner and a Flash Sale

I just wanted to announce quickly the winner of the Math on My Mind Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats!  I'll email you everything in just a bit!

Also, I just wanted to let you know that my math products are on sale until midnight tonight!

Have a blessed night, friends!

Team Banner Activity FREEBIE

Since I'm just about finished setting up my room, I've started thinking about the really important stuff....getting my plans done for the first week of school. 

Most of the teachers at my school use Kagan's Cooperative Learning strategies (in fact, I was sent to the Summer Institute twice at Disney World to be trained...BEST.TRAINING.EVER!) and these structures for active engagement are an everyday part of the teaching and learning that goes on in my classroom.

In order to get ready to use the strategies throughout the year, I always like to spend quite a bit of time at the beginning of the year building a positive emotional climate and guiding my students in classbuilding and teambuilding activities.  It is so important for our kiddos to be able to communicate and collaborate with one another.  Taking the time at the beginning of the year to focus on these skills always makes the year run smoothly!

So I decided to create this little banner for each team to complete together and then I figure we'll post them around the room!  This will be a fun way for each team to begin to build relationships and interdependence.  If you'd like to use it, click on one of the pictures below.  I'd love to hear a comment from you if you choose to use it! =O)

Also, I'm curious:  What do you do to enhance team relationships in your classroom?


"Best and Most" Linky and the BIG Sale

Happy Saturday friends!  I am so excited to be linking up with the fabulous Christina Bainbridge for her "Best and Most" Linky!

Bunting Books and Bainbridge
Christina had this great idea for us to showcase some of our products in a way kinda like a high school yearbook.  Super fun idea, Christina! 
First up, is the product that is the teacher's pet!  While I never received an award for being the teacher's pet back in school, my parents still tease me about how I was my (favorite) fourth grade teacher's pet.  They have a video of me from back then and my teacher was literally petting me on my head, haha!  Anways, I think my Math Interactive Notebook is going to be my absolute fav this year because it is going to really help me keep on track in math and help me address the standards with depth.
The next product is most likely to help your students succeed!  I am thrilled about my Writing Workshop folder materials because it's always gotten pushed to the back burner.  But I think it has the potential to really help support my students as they write.  Not only will it help keep them organized but it has great resources for them to use like lists of temporal words/phrases and commonly misspelled words. 

Last up is the award for the best couple!  My Math Pre-Assesment Task Cards and Getting to the Core Math Standards practice sheets are a great pair.  The task cards are a quick and easy way to see if your 3rd graders have learned the prerequisite skills in 2nd grade and can help you have a good understanding of where your students are.  Then you can use the practice sheets to reinforce new skills as they are learned. 

Well y'all, I'm gonna get going.  I plan to load up my shopping cart in advance with all of my goodies so all I have to do tomorrow is hit checkout!  I hope that you get some great deals.  Don't forget to use the code BTS13 and combined with the sale in my store you can get 28% of all of my products.  Happy shopping!

Thanks Krista for the absolutely adorable graphic!!!


Math on My Mind-A Giveaway and a Linky Party

I don't think I've talked much about this before but I am totally an ELA kinda gal.  I LOVE to read and enjoy writing (always have) and my passion for both is evident in my classroom set up and in my instruction.  So while that's all fine and dandy and makes me a pretty good ELA also means that I have lots of room to grow as a math teacher.  And the best way I know to improve my math knowledge and instruction is to totally immerse myself in math; hence, the title of this blog post..."Math on My Mind."  I have spent the better part of the summer with my nose in the standards, my state's unpacking documents, and materials from my district.  So in honor of my math studies (and a laborious project that I worked on along the way), I've decided to host a giveaway and my first ever linky party (please don't leave me hangin' friends).
Let's start with the giveaway part because that's lots of fun!  I have decided to give away EVERY.SINGLE. math product (all 8 of them, haha) in my TPT store to one lucky person!  Most of these items are aligned with third grade standards but would be great for expanding second graders' knowledge or remediating fourth graders.  So here's what you can win:
First up, my newest project...3rd Grade Interactive Math covers ALL standards!!!
 Here's what else is up for grabs:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the linky party!  I hope you'll link up and share some of your fabulous ideas for math.  What are your ideas for keeping students engaged?  How do you teach the standards to the depth required by CCSS?  How do you use/teach your students the Math Practice Standards?  What are some of your best ideas and strategies?  I can't wait to see what you all share!
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