Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Social Studies Texts: Scrambled States of America

For my Social Studies text recommendations this week, I have two books for you: The Scrambled States of America and The Scrambled States of America Talent Show.

Both of these books are super cute and would be a great introduction to learning the states or looking into the different regions.  The Scrambled States of America is such a cute story.  Some of the states are feeling happy with their location so they decide to throw a party and all get together. The states mingle, have a good time, and some of them to decide to start switching places.  After trying out new locations, they all find they are more unhappy and go home.  It is a great story to infer information about the different climates and and regions of the country.  I would follow this up by having students do a RAFT writing activity from the point of view of a state.  I would probably have them do some research on a state and then write from that state's point of view.  I might even make a little grid menu of writing/project ideas to go with this book to share with you later. 

In the Scrambled States of America Talent Show, the different states decide to have a talent show and all the states perform different songs and dances.  I would read this book with the first one just because it is cute. I would probably follow up this book by having students research cultural aspects of the different states and regions.  See what types of music and foods are in different parts of the country.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It: Owls and Dark Colors

Here were my fantastic finds from Mardel's yesterday that sparked my new classroom theme.  I love the colors and the owls.  It matches the colors in my blog design.

Of course I had to make some stuff to go with it.
So I started with a Welcome sign.

I also love this sign that has been floating around Pinterest that people have been making.

So I made some to match my different classroom decor themes:

You can get all 5 themes at my store for $2.00.

I also made some freebie versions:

I need to work on some other classroom decor in the owls and dark colors.  To celebrate I now have 100 products in my TpT store, let me know which of the 5 themes in the Student Inspiration Sign you would hang in your classroom and I will give away the signs for free to someone.

Don't forget about my 300 follower giveaway which ends tonight.  There will be 17 winners!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Olympics as a Theme

I started training at my new teaching position this last week.  I am very excited about this new opportunity and this upcoming year.  By the end of the day though, I was exhausted.  Sometimes, I really am amazed kids still have energy at the end of the day.  Sitting and absorbing information all day wears me out. 

I will be teaching a 4th and 5th grade combined class at a private school and will be teaching with a more thematic approach.  I have decided that the Olympics would make a great first theme of the year.  I will be able to work with a theme for a couple months so not everything will directly tie to the theme, but I intend to use the themes to help guide some of my literature choices, activities, projects, etc.  For the Olympics, there are already some wonderful products on TpT.  I definitely intend to make some purchases.  Anybody already purchase any of the Olympic products geared at grades 3-5?  Anything you recommend?  I plan on doing some research for picture books, novels, and nonfiction that will tie well into the Olympics.  I definitely think I might do a Biography unit while covering this theme.  Biographies of various Olympians seems an obvious tie in to me.  Such great potential for discussing the ancient history of the Olympics and different cultures.  I do intend to put together some writing prompts and research and project ideas. 

What ways do you plan on incorporating the Olympics into your classroom?  My mom and my brother live in Utah, and my brother used to go to a charter school that is located at the venue where they did the the cross country skiing in the 2002 Olympics.  Every January, the school has their own Olympic games with various skiing and outdoor events.  I got to attend a few years ago.  It was pretty fun to watch. Different teams are made up of kids of all the grades and are supposed to represent different countries. 

Now, most students are not in a position to be able to participate in something that elaborate.  I have been struggling myself to find a balance in my life and make fitness and eating better more important.  I actually think while discussing the Olympics you also could very easily tie in some great discussions on health, good habits, and fitness.  I try to go to yoga consistently and have been trying to get into a running routine.  My husband and I just purchased better bikes and tonight went for a 7 mile bike ride.  I really need to start incorporating some weight training into my week because I have no muscle whatsoever.  Not even a little. 

My students will have a shorter day than usual and some of my students will be involved in outside athletic activities.  I will not really have a scheduled PE and recess because the kids will get a lot of physical activity outside of school.  However,  I do want to find fun ways to break up the day and get us moving. (As last week showed,  I get tired from sitting all day. ) I know kids need to move around if I need to move around.  Our building and outside space is a little non-traditional, so I am trying to think of some physical activities we could do that are inexpensive and easy.  Another teacher at my school suggested hula hoops and jump ropes, which I think are great suggestions.  I have seen other bloggers mention like fitness youtube videos they use in their classroom.  I've thought about trying to use some yoga.  What ways do you incoporate fitness in your classroom?  I was thinking this would make a fun liny party - sharing ideas about using the Olympics and fitness as a theme.  What do you think?  Is this a linky party you would be interested in?  Some of my other attempts at linky parties did not really go anywhere, so this time I thought I would ask your thoughts.

Don't forget about my Thirty One Giveaway for participating in my online party and my 300 Follower Giveaway.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rockin' Resources and a Thirty One Giveaway

Rockin' Resources:

I am linking up with Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory to share the tehnology resources I intend to use this year.

So I really want to be one of these teachers that uses really awesome technology resources in my classroom.  In the past, my access to technology resources were very limited. This year I am going to be teaching a 4/5 split class at a private school where the students are required to have a laptop.  I am excited about this and want to take advantage of it. So I have seen lots of great websites recommended by teacher bloggers.  I decided to share some of these Rockin' Technology Resources that I hope to use this year (but have not used yet). Many of you have probably read posts about these sites, but since there are new teacher bloggers and blogstalkers all the time I figured it couldn't hurt to mention them.

1) Classroom Organizer by Book Source

This is a free website where you can enter all the books in your classroom library as well as your students and then use this site to manage the checkout and checkin process of your classroom library.  I think this seems like an amazing resource and can't wait to use it.  I just dread entering my boxes and boxes of books.  Luckily, they also have an app for the iPhone where you can scan the ISBN numbers of the books with your phone.  I believe this is supposed to make it easier.  I downloaded the app and registered for the site today, so once I get started I will let you know how it goes.

2) Kidblog

This site allows you to create a teacher blog and then your students can have their own little blogs under you.  This seems like it would so much fun for kids.  There also is Edublog, but it seemed geared at older students.   I checked out both and intend to use Kidblog. 

3)  Class Dojo

This is a free online classroom behavior management system.  You choose little avatars to represent the students and then students can earn positive and negative points.  You can choose from critter or monster avatars, but you also can upload your own avatar images.  I am excited about this because I believe it will work well with my video game behavior management idea I previously used.  I think I want t0 have the students draw avatars, scan them in, and upload the images.  The other thing I think could be difficult is that I am not always at my computer.  I was thinking about making either a form I could use to mark points and then record later or even a behavior form the students could use that holds all the same categories and enter it into the computer as I have time.

4) Weebly

This is a site you can use to create a free education website or blog.  I would like to use it to create a classroom website to share information with parents and students.  I will keep kidblog mainly to use during school with my students.

5) Edmodo

I have only looked at this site a bit, but it is basically like a Facebook for education.  It seems like it would be fun to use, so I want to look into it more.

6) Spelling City

I have used Spelling City in the past and intend to use it again. 

7) Read Write Think

Read Write Think has some awesome interactive pre-writing activities I intend to use.

8) eThemes

I will be teaching thematically this year, so this seems like a great online resource when searching for resources for specific themes.

The resources I know for sure I intend to use are Kidblog, Spelling City, and Classroom Organizer.  The others I hope to use for sure.  As I explore these websites and get into using them, I will let you know how it goes.  What technology resources do you love?  I would love to find a great online source for Greek and Latin Roots.  Any suggestions?

On a fun note:

I am having a Thirty-One online party, just in time for back to school.  I have seen everyone talking about their Utility totes, and I decided I want one, too.  This is the tote I have seen blogged about most often.  People put a hanging file organizer inside and carry it back and forth from school.  I'm not sure if I want this bag or something else or several, yet.
Anyone who has been around me for more than five minutes knows I love bags, totes, backpacks, purses! I figured why not host an online party?  Well, hopefully some of you have been wanting a bag, too, so help me out by going to the link below to shop.  Click on "My Parties." Click on the link that says "Shop Now" next to April Walker.  Michelle over at Making it as a Middle School Teacher is helping me out with the party.  I am having a giveaway where the winner will win $31 credit to buy more Thirty One bags.  I used the point values similar to Lorraine from 4th Grade Froggies from when she had a somewhat similar giveaway.  For one item purchased you earn five points, for two items you earn ten points, and for three items you earn twenty five points.  So help me out by shopping, and then I can help you get more bags.

(Don't forget to enter my fabulous 300 Follower Giveaway as well.)


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Fabulous 300 Follower Giveaway with 17 winners

To show my appreciation for having reached over 300 followers, I am having a giveaway.

1) From me, one winner will win their choice of either $30 credit to my TpT store or one item of their choice every month for the rest of 2012.

Fifteen awesome people have contributed!

2) The 3am Teacher

Michelle is giving away one graphics set from her store.

3) Teaching with Love and Laughter

Teaching With Love and Laughter

Lori is contributing her Hunting for Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives activity to one winner. (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hunting-for-Nouns-Verbs-and-Adjectives)

4) My Not So Elementary Life

My (Not So) Elementary Life

Heidi is giving away her Beach Ball Back to School Craftivity.

5) Learning is Something to Treasure

Lisa is donating a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificate to one winner.

6) Taming my Flock of Firsties

Beth Ann is giving away any 3 items of their choice from her store to one winner.


7) Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

Aimee is donating her Comprehension Workstation Book Talk Jar to one winner.

8-9) Third Grade’s a Charm

Jackie is donating items for 2 winners.   One will win their choice of either Place Value and Rounding Combo (Scoot Game) or Identifying and Classifying Nouns Combo (Scoot Game). The second winner will win her Parts of Speech Mega Pack (Scoot Games).

10) Bright Concepts for Teachers

Jaime is contributing her classroom behavior clip chart and classroom supply labels to one winner.

11) Coffee, Kids, and Compulsive Lists

Coffee, Kids and Compulsive Lists

Shanyn is contributing her Flower Fun - Representing 3 digit numbers packet to one winner.

12) The Teacher’s Cauldron

Jen is donating choice of one item from her store.

13) Run! Miss Nelson’s Got the Camera

One winner will choose 2 packets from her TpT store.

Run Miss Nelsons got the Camera

14) Mrs. Stanford’s Class

Jessica is donating choice of one item from her store.


15) Mrs. Fultz’s Corner

Christi is giving away her Writing a Poem Day Unit.

Ms. Fultz's corner

16) Success in Second Grade

Brandi is contributing her synonyms and prefix cards to one winner.

Success in Second Grade

17) Life, Love, Literacy

Tammy is contributing a choice of one item from her store.

That's right. There will be 17 winners total, so go ahead and enter.  Until Friday, everything in my TpT store is 20% off.  Thank you so much for reading and following.  I am so enjoying every minute of this blogging community!

I also am going to be having a 31 Bags online party where you can earn up to $31 credit toward items of your choice when you purchase items for the online party.  So, if you, like me, have been meaning to get a 31 bag, come back later to get the details for the 31 online party and giveaway.
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