Saturday, June 30, 2012

Back to school: First day folders

At the beginning of the school year there is so much paperwork!  Some needs to stay at home, some signed and returned.  I created a generic folder to use every year for the first week of school. 
To make these, I purchased "Welcome to 3rd Grade" Postcards from the parent teacher store (36 cards for $4).  Next, I went to Walgreens and picked up folders without prongs which are currently on sale 4 for $1.  Total cost for a set of 20: under $10- (cheaper if you already have the supplies) and they can be used for years!
I put double sided tape on the postcard to stick it to the front.  I added my labels to the inside pockets and laminated the folders (flat and open!).
You will have to use scissors to score the inside- break the lamination so they can use the pockets!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Classroom Organization and setup

CAFE BOARD- My new cafe board is still in progress.  One idea that I am really excited about is the magnetic (stove) burner covers from the dollar store.  I am going to print the students' names on the a magnetic strip and they will place their name into whichever category they are working on.  I like this better than post-it notes because they won't fall off!

ADD LABELS TO EVERYTHING- Look extra organized- label!  I printed everything onto one color cardstock that will be together.  I try to keep everything very uniform.  Also, I spray painted that green shelf black- it looks much better.  Here is a "before' picture of the board without the border.  But mainly check out my labels!
FRAME YOUR BOARDS!- I added the same solid blue frame around ALL my bulletin boards.  I have lots of bright colors in my room; by giving them all the same border it adds a uniform look.  Also, all of my bulletin board paper is black (except for my cafe board).  If you haven't added a border to your whiteboards, I would highly recommend it.  It make them pop!
COMPUTER ORGANIZATION: As I set up my new classroom, I wanted to create a computer area that had enough room.  To do this, I put the computers UNDER the tables and only leave the keyboard, mouse and monitor showing. 

I gather all the cords tight and use zip ties to bind them.  Cut off the extra piece!
Last, attach a label to the cord where it is being plugged in so you can easily find what you need.  Download my computer labels below!

Also, I hated that you could still see all the cords under the tables.  I had some extra fabric left over from the class curtains.  I cut it to size and hot glued the edges under to that it wouldn't fray (easy no-sew tip!) Then I hot glued it to the table. No more ugly cords!

Freebie Fridays

What are you doing differently for organization/setup this year?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Winner of the Luna Interactive Projection Camera Announced

Congrats to Teresa from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie for winning the Luna Interactive Projection Camera from Learning Resources!  Teresa won by following Learning Resources on Twitter.

Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit Learning Resources on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Youtube for even more products and great ideas!   Thank you Learning Resources for sponsoring this giveaway!

A side note- please make sure you are completing the tasks required for entry!   I do follow up!  :)  Congrats again to Teresa who followed all the rules!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Classroom makeover

So I'm trying to get my room set up for next year. I will be teaching third grade next year. Check out my layout so far!

It still has LOTS if work to go, but it is looking better! They usually shut the place down in the summer, but due to budget cuts they are only waxing the halls. So basically that means I have extra access to my room. And since I'm going on a Disney cruise in 24 days, I want it finished before then. Also- get this: students bring their supplies to us JULY 31! Crazy, hub?

I want to see YOUR updates!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Review of Easi-Speak™ USB Recorder

Originally submitted at Learning Resources

Fun-and-easy wireless recorder encourages even reluctant students to speak up! Just one button to record, then simply play back and listen (up to 4 hours of audio). Extended uses across the curriculumoral language, fluency, phonics, speech therapy, intervention, math facts, podcasts and more. Built...

A Must Have For Elementary Classrooms!

By ashly2499 from Nashville, TN on 6/18/2012


5out of 5

Pros: fun, Batteries not required, No cords, Functional, Simple to use, Durable

Best Uses: Create Listening Centers, Motivation to read, Improving Fluency, Digital Storytelling

I received the Easi-Speak USB Recorder from Learning Resources to use and review. This durable recorder is a fun and functional addition to any classroom. It serves as a great motivational tool- my students LOVE it! I teach first grade inclusion. When my student with Autism is having a rough day and doesn't want to come to reading groups, all I have to do is pull out the Easi-Speak Recorder. It turns learning into a game while improving fluency! My students love hearing themselves read, and it has really improved their expression while reading. I love how simple and functional the device is. There are no cords to find or batteries to replace- technology made easy!
I highly recommend this product for all elementary classrooms.


Luna Interactive Projection Camera Giveaway

There are many different document cameras out on the market today, but I would like to introduce you to my personal favorite: The Luna Interactive Projection Camera.  This has to be one of my favorite resources for the classroom!  
Before I had this amazing tool in my classroom, I had a cheap doc camera.  The Luna was a completely new experience for me- I love it!
What makes the Luna truly invaluable in the classroom are two features in particular: the light and the telescoping flexible handle.  The light is wonderful because it helps get a much clearer picture.  In my classroom, we have harsh fluorescent lights.  In addition, my projection camera sat on a ledge under a row of cabinets.  It could get very dark in that corner and the images on other document cameras would be blurry.  I was able to zoom in on coins and show great detail with the light on the Luna Projection Camera.  I also love that it can pivot at any angle making it extremely useful!

Another really useful feature is the photo and video capacity.  If you want to take pictures, use it as a webcam, or create digital stories this is your tool!
The Luna Projection Camera is also much less expensive than some other document cameras on the market.  But the best price is free- and today you have the chance to win one for yourself!  A winner will be randomly chosen on 6/26/12.  Good luck!

Enter your email in the Rafflecopter box below to get started.  If you visit Learning Resources on Facebook, tell them Teaching Happily Ever After sent you!  :)

Visit Learning Resources on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Youtube for even more products and great ideas! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grids, Hands-On Charts, & Movement

Today educational author Rich Allen is our county's keynote speaker at our in-service.

He has shared some interesting ideas and many photos that teachers have shared with him.
Spelling Grid
Teachers had a grid of letters painted on the floor. The students stood around them in a circle. The called out a spelling word and had one student spell it out by hopping from square to square.  They could also use bean bags.

He also showed the following types of charts to keep students moving:

Music Notes on a Scale

They also had a coordinate grid on the hallway wall.

Sight Word Twister

Bean bag letters for K on a hopscotch board (students identify the letter or letter sound; one side of the bean bag was an uppercase letter and one was lowercase).

Outdoor Spelling Grid- He was talking about how they found the students outside practicing their spelling words before school.  I would love to get one of these at our school!  They also showed an outdoor 100's chart!

Academic Vocabulary Chart
This chart was made out of sheet protectors.  You can change the vocabulary depending on the unit of study.  I love that you can use this for any subject!  In the example given, they showed geometry.  Pictures and phrases were inserted into the squares such as "4 corners" or "Triangle".  The students would then have to expound upon that information, giving a definition or characteristics of each term.

Floor Calculator 
This floor calculator was used by the students to practice equations. Students on the side could stay engaged by saying the color of the next number (answer).

Periodic Table (made by HS students)

I would love to use a Spelling grid, 100's chart, or multiplication table!
If you can't make it permanently in the classroom, they suggested a tarp, sheet, or shower curtain. 

Do any of you have these?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What are you reading? *Linky Party!*

Happy summer!
In honor of summer, I wanted to share what I am reading and have a linky party to find out what YOU are reading!  Jodi in Clutter-Free Classroom beat me to it, so I'm sending people her way! :)  Join up at her site here and she even has a giveaway going!

I'm starting out with my ultimate chick lit author, the hilarious Sopie Kinsella.  I didn't even know she had a new book out until I hit up the library!  So, in case you haven't heard, here it is!  It's very cute- a fun summer read.  The plot is starting to sound a little redundant to some of her others (Shopaholic & Remember Me) but still good fun.  I read it cover to cover yesterday afternoon and enjoyed it!  Also, she had a little note in the back about liking her on Facebook.  Brilliant.  Now I'll know when her new material comes out!
Ok, these are other ones that I got from the library but I haven't had the chance to read yet: (read: I left them at home and now I'm in Arkansas on a trip and I'm kicking myself that I only brought one book which I finished in one afternoon)

 By: Stephanie Meyer

Ok, so just to clarify: I liked the Twilight books before the crazy movie fanatics and "team edward" silliness ever existed.  I like Stephanie Meyer's writing style.  My favorite book she has written was "The Host" and I would highly recommend it if you don't mind a little sci-fi with a great storyline.  So I will be reading this one:

This is the sequel to The Luxe, a very interesting novel about Manhatten socialites in 1899.  Basically it's like historic version of Gossip Girl (another absolutely ridiculous guilty pleasure) but with the same level of scandal!  Fun summer reads.

Amazon's quote: "Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights--and, at times, the dark lows--of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today."

Last week I was on a 9 hour road trip alone, and I was talking to my little sister on the phone.  She's a bibliophile as much as I am, and she recommend that I stop by Cracker Barrel and pick up an audiobook.  Genius!!!!!  
If you aren't familiar with the Cracker Barrel Audio books program, this is how it works.  They charge you the full amount of the audiobook, up front (mine was $30).  You can keep it for one week, and then when you bring it back in, they refund all of it exempt for $3!!!  $3 for an audiobook!  Oh yea! Plus they are very convenient and you can return it to ANY Cracker Barrel location.  Your library probably has audiobooks as well, but this on works in a pinch.
I got Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, which I've been wanting to read as a teacher but it hasn't been at the very top of my list.  The Greek Mythology in this one was interesting, but it was VERY childish.  Granted, the target audience is for 12 year olds.  My sister says the third one gets much better, so I'm hanging in there with it.  I rented the next two from the public library.

As a teacher, I recently purchased Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency.  I was really proud of this one, because it's my first Fountas and Pinnell book that I actually own.  This one comes with a whole DVD of guided reading lessons and about 150 pages of printables on a CD.  I paid waaay too much for it @ Barnes and Noble because I needed it "that day".  It's about $20 cheaper on Amazon (don't tell my husband!).  

Last week I re-read:

See a book study post on this from last summer

I can't wait for this summer's book study from TBA!  

Also, a great reference is the World Cat site.  It can tell you which bookstores/libraries around you carry a particular book.

Now I want to hear what YOU'RE reading this summer!  Post about it and link up (click "add your link" in the bottom left hand corner of this post), or just leave a comment!  Spread the word so we can get a great list going!  

*All photos are from the Amazon site and copyright their respective owners.  All are linked back to Amazon as well.