Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Classroom Reveal 2015

I am excited to be linking up with both Angie and Ashley for #2getherwearebetter AND with Blog Hoppin' for my very first classroom reveal!

This year I decided to go with a black and brights theme with a hint of Harry Potter! So far I am loving it and so are the students!

Before we start, sorry for the poor picture quality. The lighting in my room is not the best.

Outside of my classroom, I have our welcome board. I plan on putting up pictures with the students wearing the Sorting Hat on their house flag soon!

On my door, I have the sing for Platform 9 3/4 along with the Hogwarts Express. My students bring their train ticket on the first day of school to get into the classroom.

Near the doorway is our writing station, solving differences posters, and resolving conflict posters. The solving differences posters are from Not So Wimpy Teacher, which can be found here for FREE, while the resolving conflict posters are from Tales of a Tenacious Teacher found here.

Next to our writing station, is my Smartboard and whiteboard. On the right side of the Smartboard, I have Not So Wimpy Teacher's quality booster posters found here. I have taken down our rubrics and schedule since I took this picture and now use it as a place to put our current anchor charts.  The jars are where we keep track of house points. Underneath the Smartboard, I have our root word vocabulary posters that can be found in my store here.

On the left side of the Smartboard, I have place four our objectives and daily class goal. I also love using Tales of a Tenacious Teacher's response protocols and her Show Five posters - I switched them to Give Me Five. In the buckets, I have student bookmarks, which I use for partnering, and brain breaks.

In the corner of my room, we have our "Watch Me Grow" board. I got this idea from Tales of a Tenacious Teacher as well - can you tell I loved all of our Monday Made Its this summer? Underneath the title, you will see my version of the Super Improver Wall. It's Harry Potter creature style! This week, my students got to place their brag tags next to their star cards. Above my board, is my SMART posters to hep my students remember how to write their weekly academic goals.

Finally, a portion of my classroom library is shown in this picture. I couldn't get a picture of the rest because of the lightning, but it goes on for quite a while! I love to read and hope that I can instill that love in my students.

One of the back corners of our room is reserved for our vocabulary center. On the air condition unit, I have up Jen Jones' Shades of Meaning center. The bins house the student materials for the vocabulary games that are on the bulletin board. Each game has a QR code the students can scan with their Chromebooks.

On the back wall, is our math bulletin board and center storage. On the bulletin board, I have up my Math Writing: Problem Solving Strategy Posters, the Teacher Studio's story problems, and our Mountain Math weekly warm-ups. On the counter, are the math centers my students complete using their bubble cards - an idea which I am in love with from the Primary Gal! 

The other back corner is my guided reading and math area. Above the board are Tales of a Tenacious Teacher's Accountable Talk Posters. On the bulletin board, I have her Reading Strategy posters as well as our Bloom's Taxonomy Poster and Critical Thinking poster. I got both of those ideas from Jen Jones, but wanted to change the colors to fit my room. She has them both in her store here and here.

In the middle of the room, we have our four house tables. I don't have a picture of all four, but here is one of the Slytherin table. The banner is stuck on the back of the bookshelves. The bookshelves are where the students keep their bin and all of their supplies.

Thanks for coming by! I hope everyone enjoyed their classroom tour. I know I have loved looking at all the wonderful classrooms and getting so many great ideas!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teacher Week - 5 Fun Facts About Me!

Hey everyone! I am so excited to be linking up with the wonderful ladies of Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2015! My first one ever! Make sure to stop by my blog throughout the week to hear about me, see my classroom, and get some classroom tips!

This is Mr. Chai. We met while we were both in high school (seven years ago!). After dating for almost four years, we decided to tie the not and have now been married for 3 years. I seriously don't know what I would do without him. He is my center. He keeps me grounded, he supports my teacher madness, he is my best friend, and he is always there when I need him. He has spent so many countless hours cutting laminate, hanging bulletin boards, and doing whatever else I need. I am so grateful for him and our marriage! It's what keeps me sane!

I am totally obsessed, and have been since I was a kid, with books! My mom always had to take away my books to get me to go out and play. Today I am no different. I just love to read! The picture above shows a few of my favorites: Harry Potter, Spirit Animals, Deltora Quest, Sisters Grimm, and the Secret Series. But I have a ton more books!

One of my favorite things about teaching fourth grade is that I get to share my love of reading with my students. We are always talking about books, our favorites, ones we didn't like, when we stole some reading moments, what books we should read next. Most of my favorites come from books my students have recommended!

If you didn't see it in the picture above, I love Harry Potter! It is my all-time favorite series. I have collected stuff from the books, seen the movies countless times, read the series every single year, and incorporate it into my classroom theme. No joke! I love it that much, but I have never been to Harry Potter Land. My husband and I decided that next summer will be the summer to go! I can't wait!

Last year I got accepted into my district's technology endorsement program. There were forty of us who received 1:1 Chromebooks for our classroom mid-November last year. At first, I really struggled with them and desperately wished we had gone the iPad route; however, as I have used them more and more, I have come to realize just how much I love them! I spent a lot of time tweaking my instruction this summer so that the Chromebooks would be a more integral part of our daily schedule. It has definitely paid off! These first two weeks of school we have been using our laptops during math centers, for digital reading and writing interactive notebooks, for ePortfolios using Kid Blog, and so much more. They have definitely transformed the way I teach and I wouldn't go back for anything!

One of the things I am looking forward to most about this year is becoming a GOTR, or Girls on the Run, coach, again. Last year was the first year this program had come to my school and I loved every minute of it. If you aren't familiar with it, GOTR is an after-school program for girls, where they learn lessons about peer pressure, inner beauty, taking care of their bodies, being healthy (mentally and physically, and more. After the daily lesson, the girls, and coaches, run! By the end of the program, the girls have had 22 lessons and participated in a 5K. This program is truly a miracle for many of these girls and for coaches too. I know it helped me be less stressed at school, reminded me to balance my personal and profession life, and helped me lead a more rounded life. I know it'll do the same for me this year!

So there it is! Five fun facts about me. I cannot wait to go read over on Blog Hoppin' about all of  you! Make sure to link up anyway you can!

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Making the Most of Scholastic Orders

Hey everyone! It feels like I have been away from the blogging world forever due to starting school. We've been back for about two weeks now and I love my new group of students!

One of the items that is always on my summer to-do list is to write a grant for books for our classroom library. This year I submitted a proposal for $350 worth of new books with a local organization and got it! I was so excited!

I decided right away that I would use this money for a Scholastic Book order during the month of August (but you could also do it during September).

The reason for this is that if you order by September 30, 2015 and spend over $300, you get 10,000 bonus points, $30 to spend right now, and 10 free new books! There are other rewards too, depending on how much the teacher spends! For the full list, see the chart below:

After looking at the list of rewards and the books on my wish list, I decided to spend $200 on Scholastic and $150 on Amazon. Because I spent $200, I got 3,500 bonus points and $25 dollars to spend right then. I also received 10 FREE new books and TWO FREE books, of my choice, during the month of September. 

With the money and bonus on Scholastic, I was able to get these books for the students (I also got some mentor texts, but they are not in the pictures) shown below.

In this first box, there are I Survived books (both fiction and nonfiction), Wings of Fire, Hugo Cabret, nonfiction books, Spirit Animals, Who Was biographies, Absolutely Almost, I Totally Funniest, Whatever After, and more.

In the second box, I got the entire Guardians of Ga'hoole and A-Z Mysteries series as well as the new Goosebumps Movie Set books, Goosebumps Monster Movie Guide, and eleven of the Judy Moody books.

I also got the entire Chronicles of Narnia series.

With my Amazon money, I was able to get the entire Sister's Grimm series (a new class favorite) and all five books in the Secret Series.

Again, I got all of this for $350 plus my 3,500 bonus points from Scholastic! It really is a steal. If you ever get grants or parent orders during August/September, I highly suggest you try and use them towards their back-to-school bonus points. It makes your money go a lot further, which is always a bonus for teachers!

Now, that I have my books, I need to label them and put them in my classroom library. This is just a portion of my library...I couldn't fit it all in one picture!

I promised my kids I would do that before tomorrow, so I better stop typing and go start labeling! Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

{Week 2} BTS in a Flash: Curriculum Must Haves

I am so excited to be linking up today with the second week of the Back to School in a Flash blog series! This week everyone is talking about Curriculum Must Haves!

Here are my must have products:

My first must have product is one that I made and plan on using all year long, my Super Roots Poster. Each week, my students and I discover, explore, and learn about one new root word. These posters will help my students remember the roots we are learning, see how to use a root word to define an unknown word, and give them examples of related words. I plan on keeping the posters up all year long to for them to use as a reference!

My second must have product is one I started using last year and loved, Blair Turner's 4th Grade Common Core Interactive Notebook All Standards Bundle! It is an amazing resource that helped my students understand and ENJOY various math concepts. I use this product during my whole group lessons as well as during small groups and for center activities. I am excited to use it even more this year!
My third and four must have products are ones that are currently sitting in my cart, waiting to be purchased during the TpT BTS sale!

The first product is from Ideas by Jivey. It's her Mentor Sentences for Grades 3-5 Volume 1 bundle. I have debated over getting this product for the last two years and have finally decided that this year is the year I am going to dive into mentor sentences. I am so excited to use them and, after looking through her blog and watching her mentor sentences videos, I know they will be perfect for my classroom. I plan on using the mentor texts during my Reader's Workshop as well! She also just came out with a Volume 2 for Grades 3-5 and part of it is all about using nonfiction book. I may just have to pick it up too!

 The second product is from Teaching in Room 6! It's her Paragraph of the Week resource! This resource is jam-packed with 36 weeks of writing prompts. It takes students through a structured routine of writing paragraphs. I plan on using it in my classroom during the first two months of school then, once my students are familiar with the routine, sending it home for their weekly homework. I will then start using her Essay of the Month resource in the classroom! If you haven't checked out these two resources, I highly suggest you do!

 Want to see what others are saying? Head on over to the blog, Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher, and check out this great BTS linky! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Assess Me Linky (Yes or No)

I am linking up with Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher today for a fun back to school "get to know you" link! This one is a quick and easy yes or no assessment!

Here's my assessment:

If you haven't already, go link up with Rachel for this fun back to school linky!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Creating Digital Exit Slips Using Google Forms

Hi Everyone! I am popping in real quick today to share how I make digital math exit slips using Google Forms. As some of you may know, I am a 1:1 Chromebook classroom. Last year was the first year my district piloted 1:1 Chromebook classrooms with about 40 teachers. At first I was skeptical about the Chromebooks. I struggled with learning how to implement them, especially when it came to math. However, after a year of trial and error, I, not only LOVE my laptops, I finally figured out  a great way to use them in math: digit exit slips!

Creating digital exit slips is super easy! You can even do it with exit slips you already have. All you need to do is take a screen shot of the pdf page you want, crop it, and TA-DA! It's ready to go!

Step 1: Determine what exit slip you want to use. For today's example, I am going to be using one from my new Place Value Exit Slip pack.

Step 2: Open up Google Drive. Select "New", "More", then "Google Forms."

Tip: This is on my personal Google Drive account; however, if I were doing this on my school account, I would create a folder for all of my place value exit tickets. This way it is organized and all in one place. Then, before following step 2, I would click on my "Place Value Exit Ticket" folder.

Step 3: Add a space for the students to type their name. To do this, click on the "Add Item" drop-down menu and select "Text". In the "Question Title" box, type in "Student Name". Then, click "Done".

to. . .

 Tip: I would double-check, maybe, even triple-check that you have added a spot for the students to type their name; otherwise, it is a mess! Trust me! I have done it more times than I would like to admit!

Step 4: Once your Google Form is open, enter in a title and, if you want, a description.

Step 5: Click on "Insert" then "Image". Once you've click on "Image", you'll get a few choices. You can upload an image, take a snapshot, pick an image by URL, find an image in your albums, get an image from Google Drive, or search for an image on the web. For our purposes, we are going to upload an image by dragging and dropping then hit "Done".

to. . .

Step 6: Now, we are going to add spaces for the students to type their answers by typing in "Answer #1:" in the "Question Title" box and selecting "Paragraph Text" from the "Question Type" drop-down menu. Then, click "Done".

to. . .

Tip: Repeat step five as many times as needed until you have answer spaces for each question on the exit slip.

(Optional) Step 7: Once you have added all of your answer spaces, I like to add a space for my students to reflect. To do this, click on the "Add Item" drop-down menu and select "Multiple Choice".  Now, you can type in the reflection question and multiple choice answers (mine is shown below) then click "Done".

to. . .

(Optional) Step 8: Before sending the form to your students, have some fun and change the theme! Click "Change Theme" at the top and then select the one of your choosing from the menu on the right-handside. 

Step 9: Now that you have changed your theme, you are ready to send it to your students. Just click on "Send Form" and type in your students' emails.

Here is what the final product looks like: Identifying Place Value Exit Slip Google Form!

If you have any questions, please let me know. Otherwise, good luck!