Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to School items in December?

So remember back in August when I refused to give in and buy "back to school" items from the dollar bins at Target? Well, today I was at Target and I was looking at all the half off Christmas items and I found a section that was the “back to school” items reincarnated. I ended up buying the mini magnetic erasers and dry erase pens. I actually think they are neat items to give out to the kids. I admit, I’m still a sucker for the back to school dollar bins in December!

I have been enjoying my time off. I finally had enough time to transfer my 400 digital pictures from my camera to my computer and I backed up all my school files. I can finally cross that off of my “things to do” list. Enjoy the rest of your winter break!







Saturday, December 24, 2011

I have a blog?

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted! Yes, I do remember I have a blog!  How fast time goes by when you're super busy! Today was officially my first day off for the holiday break. I feel kind of cheated this year getting out so late but I'm sure come January 3rd I'll be loving my second week off.

Thank you Tara from http://4thgradefrolics.blogspot.com/  for the inspiration for The Grinch activities. Here are some examples of the Grinch from my class.

The kids did a great job making these and they came out so cute and unique! Some other things I have been up to besides teaching is making gifts for all my co-workers. I decided to make altered binder clip photo holders.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



Just a quick post! I hope to do a better job of posting in the upcoming months.Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!




Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where did October go?

It's hard to believe tomorrow is the last day of October. I have to admit that Halloween is my least favorite holiday of the year. When I was 10 years old, I witnessed one of my neighborhood friends go up in flames on Halloween night. She was wearing a "grass" hula skirt and part of her skirt went into a candle lit pumpkin and up in flames she went. Over 60% of her body was burned. I have never enjoyed Halloween ever since that incident.
get the file here

The school I'm at has an annual Halloween parade around the school neighborhood. The kids get to walk in their costumes while neighbors wave to the kids. After the parade the local high school band plays for the kids out on the field. It's always a good time.

Here is another week of daily math. I did not include a math page for Monday since tomorrow we will all be distracted with other activities.  

 Wishing everyone a safe Halloween tomorrow!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Daily Math and Scrapbook Happy!

Once a month I attend a scrapbook get together. Basically, it's a bunch of ladies that go crazy over stickers, ribbons,brads, and paper, and have enough of all those things to open up a dollar store! Since today was "Make a Difference Day" I participated in an organization called Crops of Luv. One of the few things Crops of Luv does is make scrapbooks for families of terminally ill children that were given a wish from the Make a Wish Foundation. This is my second time making a 2 page layout for a scrapbook. Since the scrapbook group I'm in has so many people involved we are usually able to complete 2 scrapbooks. Each person does a 2 page layout(I covered the faces of the family to respect their privacy). I thank God each day for a healthy child!

Last week was full of parent conferences. I had 100% of the parents show up! I was wiped out yesterday! I enjoy talking to the parents because you learn so much about the students. Here's another week of Daily Math. I can't guarantee that I will have these posted weekly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

End of the Quarter

Today marks the end of the first quarter for me. I must admit it went by really fast! In celebration of the end of the first quarter I treated myself to a Starbuck’s coffee.

 I gave up coffee about a year ago but every so often I just crave it. I haven’t had Starbuck’s in almost 6 months. I savored the Tall Caramel Latte for 3 hours! I actually didn’t even finish it because I was over caffeinated. I find it hard to believe that I drank Starbuck’s regular coffee every day for almost 3 years at one point in my life. That’s strong coffee! 

One of the many things I have been creating in my classroom are daily math reviews.  I will continue adding to the daily review as we learn more concepts throughout the year. 

It’s been a lot of work because my homework is very similar to this format and I’ve been making that also on a weekly basis. I basically haven’t reused anything I made last year with this year’s class. My life would be so much easier if I reused some of the stuff I created last year but it just hasn’t worked out. I hope this can be of some use to you in your classroom.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Poetry Centers

I have a good friend that is my "go to" person for reading ideas. We were hired at the same time and worked together in kindergarten for a few years. We haven't been on the same grade level team for 4 years now but she's just on the other side of the classroom wall from me :) With the help of my friend, I have made some new poetry centers for my reading class.

For day one where I have the arrows, you can insert what you want the students to do. For example: underline the nouns and circle the verbs.








 Poetry Center Day 2 is a syllable hunt. Fold a paper into thirds and label












 Poetry Center Day 3  Make your own question that is appropriate for the poem you are using.









Off to finish my grading!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Many deleted posts later!

Okay, this is the third time trying to post this! Hopefully, it works. I learned some things about Picasa, Flickr, and Smilebox and embedding slideshows in posts. I think Flickr is the way to go for my purposes after trial and error.

This post doesn't have much to do with teaching but I thought I would share. Some of you may know, one of my hobbies is scrapbooking. To this day I have never made a scrapbook for myself. I don't make scrapbooks with photos either. I usually make them so the person who receives the scrapbook can add their own photos.

I decided to take a break from focusing on school and make a few scrapbooks. I also made a cover for my lesson plan book.




I'm starting to wish someone would make me a scrapbook, so I could have one too!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Science Fair


Each year my school has a science fair. In previous years grade levels  K-3rd were allowed to turn in one class project but in the last few years my principal decided that 3rd grade needed to do 5-6 different  experiments within the class. It’s a tough task to do 5-6 different science experiments and make a science board for each one. Don’t get me wrong I love science but 6 different science boards with just the teacher helping all the kids is not easy. In the end, it’s the teacher that does most of the work. This year the science fair is in October. I decided I would do six different experiments (whole group) but each student is responsible for implementing the scientific method for each experiment.

I made this 8.5 x 14” brochure to go along with each experiment.  I’m not quite sure how it will work out but I’ll give it a try this year. Does anyone have magnets, eyedroppers, and little thermometers I could borrow??? These are all the items I need for my experiments that my school doesn’t have and neither do I. 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

New Clipchart

I wasn't going to use a clipchart this year but the group I have this year really needs a visual on how they are doing during the day. I decided to remake my clipchart to go with my overall Snoopy theme.

Here's a picture of my student work display area. The student display idea came from Kristin at Ladybug's Teacher Files. She has a lot of great ideas and tutorials.

Now that I've been with my new class for a few weeks, I can tell that more boys than girls does make a difference. I have 17 boys and 10 girls. I've never had a class with more boys than girls.








Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to subtract

Since I have been in the third grade, I have had to reteach myself how to do subtraction without a traditional algorithm. The district I'm at initially adopted Investigations. Investigations for third grade uses number lines to subtract.

Each year, I go through a painful month of reteaching students how to subtract using a number line. This year, the incoming students I have are very use to the traditional algorithm. I have no problem using that strategy but when it comes to regrouping, most of the students honestly don't know what "borrowing" from the tens really means. I made a handout to give to parents to show another strategy for subtraction. It's basically the traditional algorithm but broken down more to show the process of how to borrow.


If you have other strategies for regrouping, I would love for you to share in the comments.







Friday, August 19, 2011

Checking in!

I've been away from the blogging world for about 2 weeks now! The students at my school started on August 9th. I have a big group this year. 17 boys and 10 girls! This is my first year ever with more boys than girls. I have a very active and talkative group this year. My class is still practicing procedures daily. I have seen a lot of improvement but they still need more practice! I'm a very structured teacher and I don't think a lot of the kids I have this year are use to that.

The biggest waste of money I spent this school year was the pencil pouches. I bought 30 of them and so far half of them have broken. Some of them broke within the first day. So now I have to buy pencil boxes. Lesson learned - learn to tolerate all the clicking noises from the pencil boxes opening and shutting and just buy the pencil boxes from now on! By the way, I succeeded in not buying a single item from the Target dollar bins this school year :)

My daughter started middle school this year and I was looking through her class folders and found "rules for the classroom" from her Film class. Two of the twelve rules from her class made me laugh out loud.

1. No throwing of objects during the movie or any other time.
2. No writing on the tables or chairs during the movie or any other time.

I guess teaching middle school is a whole new frontier that I'm not use to. You would think those two things would be something the kids would already know not to do in classroom but I guess not?!?!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend Activity

In preparation for the new school year which starts on Tuesday (Yikes!) I was busily preparing back to school activities. Here is an example of the paper bag person from My Second Grade Journal. The items on the paper bag person are inspired by Step into second grade, Mrs. Lemons. In the pocket at the bottom of the paper bag person the students are going to fill out a card with “My wish for this school year”. My plan is to put these paper bag people up in the room and at the end of the school year revisit their wish cards. 

Click here if you would like a copy of "my wish for this school year".
Just a side note -  for those of you that don’t know me, I like to scrapbook and I have to say many of my scrapbook tools have come in handy in my teaching world too. My ATG gun is probably the most useful tool I have. If you like to scrapbook I highly recommend investing in one.

Tomorrow is meet your teacher night at my school. I'm excited to meet my new students! 


Saturday, August 6, 2011



My name is Cindy, and I am a recovering “control freak”. I decided this year to not be such a control freak. So far this school year (I have only been back to work for 3 official days) I’m doing quite well. For example, I have one extra table in my classroom this year and the bins I use don’t all match because of that extra table. The old me would have gone to the store to buy the matching bin but the new me is not doing it. Is it bugging me? Yes, it's bugging me a little. No, it's bugging me a lot but I’m going to let it go. I am usually very particular about all the things in my class matching. I also bought pencil bags and they are all different colors. I love the math journals that My Second Grade Journal came up with. I’m seriously thinking about having the kids help make them this year. Normally I would do them myself (old me) but I think the kids can handle it (new me).  I still have over 200 days of work left but I think I can maintain it. 

This is my last weekend before school starts. I have a ton of work to do but I’m not going to stress about it. I was completely overwhelmed on Friday to the point where I could no longer function! My school district is implementing a "walk to read" program this year and we were given a brief training on Friday. It was a lot to think about. Fortunately, I am working with a fantastic grade level team and I know between the four of us we will make it work. I also have friends at different grade levels that are wonderful too! I have to admit I am very blessed to work with the people I do because I have learned a great deal from all of them! Thank you school peeps :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Farewell Summer Vacation

Well July came and went and now it’s time to go back to work. I officially start work tomorrow. The students return on Tuesday, August 9th. Wow, what a fast summer vacation!

Here are some of the things I learned this summer:
1. Taking a class during your summer vacation makes you feel like you are still working.
2. Do not take any “school work” home for the summer because you’ll never get around to taking it out of your car trunk.
3. There is a whole community of awesome teacher bloggers.
4. Deciding to stop playing FB games was a good choice this summer.
5. Exercise is really good for your mind, body, and soul.
6. There is nothing better than being with your family and friends.
7. It is wise to stay indoors in Arizona between the hours of 12-6pm during the summer.
8. I do not need or crave coffee any longer.
9. After 11 years, I can finally sleep in past 6:30am. My only child is 11 years old.
10. After taking 6 weeks of Zumba this summer, I realize I CAN shake my hips and dance my booty off!

Wishing everyone a great school year!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Emergency Sub Plan Book and a math Freebie!

My emergency sub plan book is almost done. I just need to make copies of the activities and finalize my schedule. 


Here’s a freebie of one of the math warm-ups I use in my class. I use this activity all year but increase the numbers and change the ‘’less than 50” & “more than 50” and make it more challenging throughout the year.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Busy as a bee today!

I've been working nonstop today trying to prepare for going back to work! The first thing I did was backup all my teaching files. It was LONG overdue! Not only did I back them up once, I did it twice (the OCD in me took over). The good news is if my computer crashes or Dropbox disappears, I know I have a backup!

I highly recommend Dropbox for online file storage and sharing. You get 2GB for free. If you want more you will have to pay for it.

I decided to make a behavior log notebook for my own sanity this year. I want one place to keep a record of any behavior problems that I can refer back to during conferences or other parent interactions. I usually send home a weekly log to parents. I decided it was a waste of paper to just do one week so I turned it into a monthly log. I will still send it home weekly but I will use the same paper for a whole month.I will also keep a copy of the monthly log in the behavior log notebook.




Thank you fellow teacher bloggers for inspiring me to redevelop my parent communication log! 


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Randomness and a Freebie!

I decided this year I will not be my usual obsessive personality when it comes to little things like folders all the same color. In fact, I bought a class set of pencil bags (30 all together) and I didn’t freak out because I couldn’t find all red ones. I just went with the flow and bought 3 different colors. I’m proud of that accomplishment! The old me would have gone to 3 different stores to find all the same color. Of course the reason I bought pencil bags instead of pencil boxes this year is because the clicking of the pencil boxes drive me crazy (so I’m still a little crazy in my own way).

I went into my classroom today to do some revamping. As I was going through my own personal “Target dollar bins” (remember how I mentioned I was banning Target dollar bins because I have tons of stuff I bought that I have never used) I came across a class set of red pens – Yippee!  

So, I realize I'm a little obsessed with my behavior management plan in my classroom. I decided to make these small rule cards to give out to students when they forget about the rules. I figure I can just hand it out as a "reminder" when my little friends need a refresher on the class rules.

 Click here if you would like your own copy of these rule cards I made. These rules are from Whole Brain Teaching
  


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Last Week of Summer Vacation

This is my last week of summer vacation. It sure went by fast. I just got back from San Diego. I love the weather in San Diego especially in the summer time. It's so nice to feel comfortable (temperature wise) all day long.

I have been very busy since I got back trying to prepare for this coming school year. Below is a picture of what I've been working on for the past few days. I've been making signs like crazy!

I made a new sign for my window, subject signs for my objective board, new pencil passes, bathroom and water sign language signs, and a noise level sign. The noise level sign was created from a picture I saw at http://allabout2ndgrade.blogspot.com/.



One thing that has worked really well for me in the classroom is using sign language for "water" and "bathroom". I love that it's all non verbal. The students raise their hand showing me in sign language and I just nod my head "yes" or shake my head "no". I love that I can do that across the room without being interrupted while I'm working with other students.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bulletin Boards - Done!

I dragged myself into work early to redo my bulletin boards. Now I remember why I don't change them out too often. It took FOREVER to do them! It's a lot brighter than what I normally like but it's the sacrifice I had to make for the Snoopy border.

Thanks Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files for the idea for displaying student work!


I also put up my math strategies board. I'm not sure if I'll keep it in that spot. I might put it somewhere else in the room.

For the past 3 years I've implemented some parts of Whole Brain Teaching.

I'm still working on the rest of my room. I basically moved my tables around for 3 hours today. It shouldn't be that difficult considering I've been in the same room now for 4 years!?!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

For my "Germaphobic" friends!

One of the best ideas I ever implemented in my classroom was the boy/girl bathroom "pass". Being the Germaphobe that I am, when I came across this idea I started it right away. I have two large antibacterial gel bottles. One has a "boy" label the other has a "girl" label. I teach the students at the beginning of the year that if they need to use the bathroom they need to sign out and put the bottle on their desk. When they return from the bathroom they must squirt one pump of the antibacterial gel into their hands before returning the bottle to the counter.This has worked well with my third graders. I have one for the nurse too but that one never seemed to work out too well. Click here if you want a copy of the labels I made.

Blog Mixer Linky Party

I thought I would give this a try. Yearn to learn is having a Blog Mixer Linky Party. Here's what you include in your link up:

1. A blogger who is a "New Kid on the Blog"
(Let's say someone who has blogged 2 months or less and has less than 200 followers)
2. Post a blogger in your same grade level
3. Post a blogger in a different grade level
4. It's all about the button. Find a cute blog button and post it.

Here's mine:

1.Teach, Pray, Run - I am excited to learn more technology ideas for the classroom.

Can I also count my blog Just Another PB&J Day as a "New Kid on the Blog"? I just discovered all these wonderful teacher blogs in the last three weeks. It's a new hobby for me!

2. Third grade meanderings Great reading/writing ideas.

3.First Grader at Last Very creative ideas and SO cute!!

4. Love it!
The Polka Dot Patch

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sub Plans

One of my goals this summer is to get an emergency sub plan binder done. Most of the time I would rather drag myself into work than write up sub plans. However, I know there will be a time when I absolutely won't be able to make it into work and I should be prepared.

So far this is as far as I've gotten on the Sub Plan Binder.

I guess it's a start. I've been checking out some other teacher blogs and came across this blog about preparing for a sub by Littlest Learners Resources. She has some great resources for purchase in her TPT store. Another resource I came across is from One Extra Degree. She has a sub tub for sale in her TPT store that looks very thorough. By the way, these are both great blogs worth checking out.

By the way, I have successfully gone to Target without looking (okay, I did peek) but I didn't buy any dollar bin items.