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!