Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ron Clark Expectations Posters!

Happy Thursday!

Hope you all are having a great week! We still have 4 weeks until we start back-to-school meetings, but I went back to work this week at my admin. internship and I am loving every second of it!

I wanted to stop in quickly tonight to post about these little lovelies that people have been asking about!

I was SO inspired by Ron Clark after reading all his books a few summer's ago, and I went searching the internet for anything and everything I could find on him! I came across Hope's post and her Top Ten Essentials posters, which I enlarged, laminated, and hung in my classroom! When I updated my classroom to a rainbow chalkboard theme, I decided to make new posters to fit that theme! The posters aren't super large, but we refer to them frequently, so my students remember the gist of what they say, even when we are up on the front carpet! 

You can grab these for free here.
Or click here to go to Hope's blog to download her version!

I hope you can use these in your classroom! I have been wanting to visit the Ron Clark Academy forever and I think I am finally going to make it happen this year!!! Fingers crossed!!

I've had several product requests lately and I'm working on adding/updating them in my TPT store over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes out for them! If you follow my store you can keep up with all my new product postings!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vegas TPT Conference 2014!!

Oh my word...
The past few days have been a whirlwind of amazingness!!
I am so beyond excited that I was able to go to Vegas last week to meet hundreds of fabulous bloggers and TPT sellers!

It's been almost a full week since the conference, but here are a few of the many highlights of the trip!!

On Wednesday, I flew into Vegas to meet up with the fabulous Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher!

Catherine is amazing! She has so many wonderful ideas and we had so much time to just talk and talk!! I LOVED rooming with her!!!

Wednesday night was the blogger meet-up hosted by lots of amazing ladies! There were hundreds of teacher bloggers there!

One of the fabulous people we got to meet was Miss Amy from Teachers Pay Teachers!!! She was absolutely adorable!

There were so many amazing teachers we got to meet and chat with! After following their blogs for so long it was so great to finally be able to meet them in person!
Amanda from One Extra Degree
April from A Modern Teacher
Mandy from Mandy's Tips for Teachers
Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lillypad
Vicky from Teaching and Much Moore

Katie from Teacher to the Core is absolutely adorable! I met her at one of our SoCal meet-ups and I was so excited to see her again in Vegas!! She is seriously the sweetest girl ever!

We also ran into Dave Burgess, the author of Teach Like a Pirate!!! I bought his book a while ago and it is on my list of books to read before school starts! He was so much fun and even shared a cool little dice trick with us!

We got so many awesome goodies from the meet-up!! From Scentos to stickers to an adorable Creative Teaching Press bag, they hooked us up!

Catherine and I did lots of walking around in between all the meet-ups and the conference!  I love this beautiful flower display area we ran into! Sooo colorful and pretty!!

Thursday night Catherine and I went out to dinner with Sarah from A Rocky Top Teacher and Nicole from All Things Apple in 2nd Grade! Love those girls!!

Friday was the day of the actual TPT conference!
It was soooo much fun!

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet the man who started it all... Paul!! He wasn't lying when he said he had hugs for everyone! It was so incredible to see his Keynote on how far TPT has come since the beginning years! This man has changed so many teachers' lives!

In addition to being super sweet, Cara Carrol is absolutely hilarious! We went to one of her sessions and were laughing the whole time! She is so much fun and we loved chatting with her at happy hour!

I was beyond thrilled to meet Hope there too!! She is so sweet and inspiring! I have been reading her blog for years and she is such an amazing teacher! I've gotten so many wonderful ideas from her, and it is obvious that she is super passionate about teaching!

And of course we had to get a picture with Deanna Jump! She was probably so sick of pictures by the end of it all, but she was absolutely adorable and just as sweet and humble as can be!
At happy hour we also ran into the adorable Mrs. Commare from Teaching with Smiles and hung out with Cori from Mrs. B's Beehive!!

I absolutely love Cori! She was actually the  manager at my very first job working at Jamba Juice!! She is an amazing kindergarten teacher, and if you haven't checked out her blog yet, you must! She got a new blog makeover and it looks amazing!!!

We also spent some time with Kelly Anne from AppleSlices! She is going to be teaching 4th grade this year, which I am super excited about! And I am in love with the adorable notepad she gave me!! LOVE that quote!! (And I have a slight obsession with notepads!!)

And last, but not least, Miss Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory! Kelley spent a lot of time helping me when I had a question with something a few months ago, and I will never forget her generosity!!! It was such a pleasure to finally meet her in person!! She co-presented an amazing session of the conference that was all about data!!

I am so proud to be part of such an amazing community of teachers!! I am so thankful for TPT and so excited to be part of a wonderful group of educators that is truly changing the rules!!!

I am linking up with Deirdre from A Burst of First along with lots of other bloggers who went to the conference in Vegas!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chevron Name Tags for Student Chairs!

My first few years of teaching I would dutifully write out my students' names on name tags and attach them to the front of their desks. Year after year however, the name tags would be all crumpled, colored on, and torn, just weeks into the school year. (It doesn't help that our classrooms are used over the weekend and my students have to turn their desks around... leaving the name tags right at the edge of the desk where people are sitting!)

If you are a long-time reader, you may remember last year when I posted pictures of my student name tags for my classroom tour. They were printed, laminated, and taped to the backs of my students' chairs!

It worked amazingly!! 

By the end of the year, their name tags were still intact, and most of them still in perfect condition!

I was SO happy!
Now, I know that this won't work for all teachers, especially those in primary grades whose students need to actually see their names in print or cursive, however for my 4th graders, putting their name tags on their chairs was a perfect solution to the not-so-pretty-when-they-got-destroyed-on-desks name tags!

I've had lots and lots of teachers ask about these throughout the year, and especially lately with the back-to-school madness, so, after making mine for this coming year...

I made an editable file and posted it to TPT for all of you who have been asking about them!

We don't go back to school until the end of August and I can't get back into my classroom yet, but I was excited to get an early start on my back-to-school creating!  I'm sure I'll have to print a couple more name tags before the first day of school, but I'm glad to have the majority of them finished and ready to go!

I've been waiting ALL summer to link up with my sweet friend Tara for her Monday Made It and am so glad that I've finally made something to link up!! 
(Even if it is a day late!)

Make sure you stop by her blog to check out the adorable chalkboard speech bubble signs she made for her classroom this week! They are amazing!

Hope your week is off to a great start! I am still winding down from the TPT conference in Vegas, and have been compiling all my pictures from the week! *Fingers crossed* that I'll have that post up tomorrow!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Classroom Library Organization

My classroom library is one of my favorite parts of my room, so I am so happy to be joining up with Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher and some other fabulous bloggers to host this week’s section of our Reading in the Wild book study: Curating a Classroom Library.

My first year teaching I started the year with a single bookshelf that was hardly even filled with books. I have spent years since then (and LOTS of $$$) building up my classroom library. I love books. Especially children’s books. And I love finding books that I think my students will love. I’ve bought books everywhere; From library sales, to garage sales, to independent and big chain bookstores. I buy books on vacation and order them online. Sometimes I get great deals on books, like from Scholastic, or the sale section of bookstores, and sometimes I pay full price. But nothing brings more joy than having my students find and devour books from our classroom library! This post will give you a glimpse into how I organize my classroom library, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away!!

My classroom has a lot of built-in shelving, but I felt like those shelves were not really conducive to goo book-browsing, so I slowly started to accumulate traditional book shelves for our classroom library. I currently have 4 standard bookshelves… 3 of them were ones that I got off of family that was going to give them away, so I only had to buy one.

My classroom library is organized in two sections: Fiction books that are arranged alphabetically by author, and nonfiction and fiction books arranged in baskets. Having these two sections for our classroom library makes it easier for my students to browse books and find what they are looking for. If they are looking for non-fiction books, favorite authors, books on a certain subject, or books in a series, they head to the book basket section of our library.

Book Basket Organization:
I created my Colorful Classroom Library Labels to organize this section of our library. The fit on our book baskets perfectly and help students select books that they would like to read. The baskets contain books on specific topics, favorite authors, or series that students are interested in reading. I switch these around a little every year according to my students’ preferences. Some years it seems like my entire class is into the Goosebumps books, or I have a few kids really interested in war books. Other years I don’t. I can easily change out the book basket labels though and move books around so that our classroom library meshes with what my students are looking for.

Individual Book Labels:
As organized as I thought my library was, students still had trouble returning books to the proper basket. In order to help them, I created Individual Book Labels to go with my library labels. The stickers are formatted to print on Avery labels, and can be cut in half and stuck on the back of each book. The stickers coordinate with the library labels so students can just check the back of the book to see where it goes!

Book Baskets:
I stocked up on book baskets from Really Good Stuff. Most of my baskets are medium-sized, which are perfect for chapter books. I also have large baskets that fit my larger sized books. I am ordering more large baskets this summer because the 4 baskets that we have become somewhat of a hodge-podge of different topic books that needed a home and we didn’t have a place for them!

Fiction Book Organization:
The majority of my fiction books are shelved on two bookshelves in alphabetical order by author’s last name. I think it is important for my 4th graders to learn how to find books they are interested in this way because this is how books are organized when they go looking for them at bookstores or in libraries. I want them to know how to navigate books arranged in this order to find what they want. Like books in the book baskets, keeping books arranged in alphabetical order throughout the year was a challenge. I didn’t need the order to be absolutely perfect, but if I student was looking for a book by an author who’s last name began with C, I wanted to make sure that they could find it in the C section, and that it wasn’t buried in the P section. 

Last summer I created Colorful Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels to help with the organization and it has been amazing!! The books stayed organized throughout the entire year, and if a book was misplaced, it was easy to spot it by the colored label on the spine of the book and it could be placed back in its proper spot. This has been such a huge success this year and has saved countless hours of library organization for my students and me!

Read Aloud Books:
Now, the pictures that you see above are actually only about 2/3 of my books. The other 1/3 of my books are hidden on the built-in shelves behind curtains in our classroom (I don't have any pictures of these right now!). These are the books that I use for read-alouds. I have these books organized by subject or series (for example, I have a bin of holiday books, character development books, books for Black History Month, etc.). I take these books out as I read them. After I read them, I keep them out for my students to read for a few weeks, and then I put it back in the tub behind the curtains.

I also have a few tubs of books that I don’t read aloud, but they coordinate with certain units of study and I want to wait to put them out until we are at that point in the year. This is true for a lot of science and social studies books (owls, California Gold Rush, volcanoes, etc.)

That is a gereral look at my classroom library. If you are interested in learning more, you can see some of my previous posts:

If you have any questions, please ask! You can leave a comment below or send me an email. I would love to do a follow-up post to answer any of your questions!

You can check out my other Reading in the Wild Posts here:

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