Thursday, April 3, 2014

My First Stitch Fix!

So I'm sure many of you have heard of Stitch Fix by now, but I just got my very first box this week! For those of you who haven't heard of it yet, it is an online styling service! When you first sign up there is a style profile that you fill out... everything from the basics (what size you wear) to what styles, colors, and specific clothing pieces you would like!

Then you pick the date you would like to receive your lovely shipment and wait in anticipation!

Here is what I received in my first shipment. I wish I took better pictures, but this is all I have! From left to right: 

Cute heart print blouse - I loved this! It fit perfect and is super cute!
Crew neck sweater - I liked the fit of this, but the material was interesting. Plus I already have something similar!
Tribal print blouse - I adored the print and colors of this and wanted to love it so badly, but the cut just wasn't my favorite. It had slits on the side that went up a little too high for me. I seriously went back and forth on this one though!
Grey skinny jeans - I love skinny jeans, but already have a pair like this! Plus they were a little short on me!
Scarf - I absolutely love scarfs, but this one just wasn't a favorite... the color and stars just weren't working for me!

After I tried everything on and made my decision of what to keep (I kept the heart blouse!) I put everything else in a pre-labeled bag that they sent me and dropped it off in the mailbox! The $20 styling fee went towards the purchase of the top I bought, which was great! Also, when you go online to check off which items you want to keep and which ones you will be sending back, you get to give them feedback on what you liked/didn't like about each piece!

I love shopping and am always looking for great outfits for teaching! It was such a nice treat getting cute clothes in the mail!

I already have my next Fix booked! I'm just bummed it's so long away!

Have you tried StitchFix before? If not and you want to check it out, I would love if you used my referral link!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blurt Chart using Post-it Notes!

I posted a picture today on Instagram and received a lot of questions about it, so I thought I would do a quick blog post tonight!

The original inspiration comes from A 2nd Grade Adventure. It was one of the first pins I had on Pinterest way back when I first opened an account!

I liked the name ("Blurt Chart") and I liked the post-it idea, but I modified it a bit to fit what I wanted for my classroom!

How it works:
I added post-it notes and numbered them for each of my students (They will use their class numbers). Each time they blurt out, I will just point to the chart, and they have to go put a tally mark on their post-it note.  The blurt chart will be up all week. I plan on putting up new post-it notes on Monday.

Then I had my students come up with their own rewards/consequences for the Blurt Chart, which they loved!!

Here's what they came up with:

I told them the amount of money they earn will depend on how many people there are without tally marks. I'm planning on about $5 (once again, classroom money), but if we have a tough week and there are only a couple students left without marks, I might pay them up to $20! 

They are so excited about the blurt chart, and I love how they have total buy-in since they created their own rewards and consequences!

Do you use a "Blurt Chart" in your classroom? Are you going to try it out? I would love to know!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Cleaning Sale!

Hellllooo & happy spring!!

I hope all of you are enjoying the warmer weather and extra sunshine!
I know in southern California it has been feeling like perfect pool weather lately, which I love! Now, if only I had time to relax by the pool! 

One thing that I do have time for is shopping! Especially online shopping, it is soooo quick and easy! In honor of spring and that "spring cleaning" mode, I have put my entire TPT store on sale for this weekend! Lots of other teachers are joining in this fabulous sale, which is giving me an opportunity to clean out my wish list by purchasing lots of fabulous products! And I've been trying to leave feedback on some of my past purchases to get credit towards my new ones!

On Friday I posted a picture on instagram of my Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels! I have been loving how my library has been holding up all year! This is the most organized my fiction section has ever stayed!

So if you are looking for some organizing items, or just feeling like doing a little shopping, head on over to tpt! And check out all these other fabulous sellers who are having a sale as well!

Special thanks to the fabulous Zip-a-Dee-Doh-Dah Designs for organizing this sale! She creates the most adorable clip art and is an absolute sweetheart!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas - Numbering Student Desks in Groups

Today I am joining lots of other amazing bloggers in the Bright Ideas Blog Hop! No products, just lots of bright ideas that you can use in your classroom!

Today I'm sharing a super simple and easy tip that you can implement in your classroom tomorrow! It is a huge time-saver and keeps students from arguing over who is going to go get supplies for the team, or who to hand team papers to. 

How the Numbering System Works:

All I do is assign each student at the team a number. I usually have teams of 4-5 students, so those are the numbers that I assign them. The student sitting at the front left (from my view in the front of the class) is always number 1, and the numbers increase in a clockwise direction (see photo above).

If I have a group with more (or less) numbers, I use the same numbering system. Right now in my classroom I have groups of 4 and 5, so in my groups with only 4 students, the person sitting in the #1 desk acts as person #1 AND #5.

How I use the Numbers:

I use the student desk numbers throughout the day! One of my classroom jobs is paper collector.  Whenever I want to collect papers from my students, I will tell them to pass their papers to number _____. Then my paper collector only has to go to those desks to get all the papers from each group.

Another way that I use the numbers, is if I want students to get supplies for their teams, like glue sticks, science books (that they don't keep in their desks), etc. I will call out one of the numbers to get the supplies, and they will get one for each person at their team.

It is a HUGE time-saver!

And just a quick tip, we review the numbers every time we switch desks (which is about once a month). I'll just say "Number ones, raise your hand," "Number twos raise your hand," etc. To make sure that all the students know their numbers! In the younger grades you could always write numbers on a post it note to put on their desks if they forget!

I hope you can use this idea in your classroom!

Next up is the fabulous Shelley from Teaching in the Early Years! She is the mastermind behind the whole Bright Ideas blog hop, so you know that she has some great ideas to share!

There are over 180 wonderful bright ideas in this blog hop! You can hop from one blog to the next or browse the links below and pick and choose which ideas you'd like to read about!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Using the MadLips App to Teach About Explorers!

I know posts these days are few and far between, but we have been doing so many wonderful things in the classroom and I am hoping to share them on here over time!

Tonight I wanted so share a new app that I discovered and that was a huge HIT in our class...

I found out about this app at the San Diego CUE conference this fall.
The presenter, Jo-Ann Fox happens to also teach 4th grade, which I love because a lot of the examples that she shared fit in perfectly with what I teach! 

Basically, what the MadLips app allows you to do is choose a picture and add your lips/voice to it. After starting a timeline for the California explorers, I assigned my students to 5 "expert groups," each with a different explorer. Their task was to review the information that we learned about that explorer, and then individually use the MadLips app to introduce themselves (as the explorer) to the rest of the class. 

I had my students do a search on Google for pictures of their assigned explorer, then save the image. Now there really aren't a ton of pictures of each explorer, but usually there was at least one good one that they could choose. Sometimes pictures of other historical people showed up mixed in with pictures of the explorer, but the main part of this task I was concerned about was the voiceover... so it wasn't too big of a deal! A couple students chose to take a picture from one of the books we had on explorers, which worked fine too!

The groups of students really worked well together to become experts on their explorers. Some even wrote on index cards what they were going to say before recording!

The next day (when the expert groups had finished their recordings), I rearranged the groups so that each group now had a mix of students who all had different explorers. They shared their videos with their new groups and worked together to complete their timeline with information about each explorer.

They all had SO much fun with this assignment and learned a lot about the explorers too! I am so thankful I learned about this app and got to share it with my students!

There are so many different ways that you could use this app in your classroom! I'm thinking about using it later in the year to have my students re-tell stories from a character's point of view!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine Week Recap!

Hey, friends!! 

Hope you all had a great week! I'm linking up with the fab Doodle Bugs Teaching for 
Five for Friday (Saturday edition :) )

If you follow me on instagram you may have already seen some of these! If not then you can find me here!
1. Class t-shirts! 
I've arranged to get class t-shirts for the past two years
and we are in the process of getting them made again this year! I happen to have a kiddo in my class whose parents make t-shirts, so they are doing them for us this year! So excited to see how they turn out! My students all draw a self-portrait to go on the shirt. They always like drawing my picture, so I let them draw me if they would like, and then the class votes on one of the drawings to go on the t-shirt! Here's some of the beautiful portraits my kiddos drew of me this year!

2. Mr. Hatch Cause and Effect

This fabulous idea came from Laura Candler. You can get her freebie here!
She has recording sheets in the freebie, but we used construction paper hearts for recording the causes and effects from the story Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch instead!

3. Valentine's Day Treats!

I couldn't find the heart shaped ice trays that I used last year for valentine treats for my students, so I turned to pinterest! I found this idea from A Night Owl Blog. I couldn't find graham gold fish though, so I used mini graham crackers instead!

Love how they turned out! I even made a few little mason jars filled with the goodies for the parents who arranged our classroom party and auction project! I wish I got pictures of those but I totally forgot!

 4. I posted about our Love Poems for the Unloved earlier this week. It was a hit again this year!

5. Valentine boxes!
I had my students bring in a box from  home to decorate to collect their valentines in! I picked up tons of fun supplies at Target and set up the whole back table with everything. They were super excited!

I always love to see how creative they turn out!
Hope you all had a great week!
Tomorrow I'm meeting up with my sweet friends Sandy & Kate! 
Love those girls so much and can't wait to see them again!!

Soaring Through SecondPhotobucket

Hope you are all enjoying your 3 day weekend!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine Poetry: Love Poems for the Unloved

Last year I blogged about the book Vulture Verses by Diane Lang. I had the opportunity to listen to her  at my favorite bookstore. This book is absolutely PERFECT for Valentine's day, and I wanted to share the writing activity that I have my kiddos do after reading the book!

In case you didn't see my previous post, the book, Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved, is a collection of "love" poetry written to creatures who are generally "unloved."
(Vultures, bats, mosquitos, spiders, bees... you get the picture)

In addition, each poem mentions why the creature is actually helpful to us and our environment.
They are seriously packed with so much information and the poems are great!

Here's the back of a postcard that she passed out to promote her book...
How great of an idea is this?!

After I read aloud the book to them, my students get to come up with their own "love poem" for an unloved creature. I usually bring out books and magazines about different creatures, and this year since we have iPads we will be using those as well! I tell them to include why the creature is important to us in their poem.

 After they have written and edited their rough draft, I give them their paper for the final draft! There is space for them to write the poem and draw an illustration to go along with it!

After the poems are all finished and illustrated, I bind them together in a class book! I am so excited that my students this year will have these poems to read as inspiration for their poetry. In addition, it gives my students a purpose for writing and they are excited to know that their books are going to be displayed in my classroom for future 4th graders to read!

Click on the picture below to get this from my TPT store!
It is FREE for a limited time!

AND if you have Amazon Prime (can't believe there was ever a time when I didn't have it!), then you can order this book and get it before Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Amazing Technology Resources! {NewsELA & CAFE}

Hello, friends! We have been working on our CAFE menu and I found an amazing resource to share that I didn't even know existed!

Here's a picture of our CAFE wall sometime in the middle of last year. You can see that I have my students write down the strategies like the 2 sisters recommend. They love writing them down in fun marker colors and I think that it helps them remember and relate to them better since it is their writing!
You can also see the star post-it notes on the bottom. I have my students write their name on a post it, and then after meeting with me and discussing what they need to work on to become a better reader, they move their post-it note under that heading. If you've read the book then this probably sounds familiar because that is where I got this idea from!

Here's a picture of our CAFE menu at the beginning of this year:
I haven't taken a picture of it with the strategies added yet, but hopefully you get the idea!

I LOVE picture books and use them to teach a lot of standards in my classroom. There are so many amazing picture books for our bigger kids out there and they love them as much as I do!
As I was planning out which books I was going to use to teach which strategies this year, I stumbled across this interactive CAFE Menu from The Daily CAFE website:

It is incredible! Each strategy has  "Ready Reference Guide" that offers ideas of how to teach the strategy as well as why it is important for our students to learn. It even has a "troubleshooting" section for handling common misconceptions that students have. In addition to this guide, each strategy also has BOOKS that you can use to teach the strategy! A long list of them! There are videos too, but you have to have a membership to the site for those (which I don't). The interactive CAFE menu and book lists are all free! It is definitely a great resource that I know will save me a lot of time!

NEWSELA: A leveled-reading news site for students

The second technology resource I have to share is probably one of my favorite technology finds of the year! It is the site NewsELA and it is FREE! I first heard about it at SDCUE this November. It sounded amazing, but like all conferences, you come home with so many ideas, and it is hard to go back and research them all!

Then, over break I found Catherine's blog, The Brown-Bag Teacher. Her blog is one of my new favorites! She is absolutely amazing AND she is a first year teacher!

When I saw her post on NewsELA I knew I had to go and check it out! I'm going to save a lot of the detailed explanation of the site since she pretty much says it all, but just so you know that you can't pass up reading her posts, NewsELA is a news website that has lots of great articles about current events for students. 

The BEST part of the website is that students can change the reading level of each article! There are 4 different levels they can choose from on the right hand side (plus the maximum level... my kiddos aren't there yet :) ) In addition, when they are done reading the article they can take a 4 question quiz that tests their comprehension and one of the common core anchor standards! 

I signed up all my students and then had them check out the website last week. They were all very impressed and engaged! And they were all working at their own level! We will be using them during our Daily 5 rotations, and my students and I can't wait to make this a regular routine!

Go check out Catherine's post to see more of the features of NewsELA! 

And on that note, I have 39 and a half hours of class this week...
Keeping my fingers crossed that I survive!
And get some sleep! 

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