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June 23, 2016

Subject Pencils {Freebie}

Yesterday morning I was playing around with my Silhouette and decided to use those Dollar Spot wood pencils as subject labels for my bulletin boards. I love how they came out.  The pencils come as a banner, but it was super easy to just slide out the ribbon and create individual ones instead.  

Some Silhouette settings if you want to do this yourself:
Font - KG Always a Good Time 
Size: 114 font (Read, Write, Math) a little smaller for Social Studies and Science
*Weld the font together so you don't have tons of little cuts
I used cardstock and attached with adhesive, but you could also use vinyl. 
The wood pieces are 5" x 8", so make sure your titles are a little under 5" before you cut.  

Target Teachers on IG shared the above image yesterday and that made my day.  There were some comments that others wished they could have this too, so I made a paper version.  Hope it helps.  It's over on Google Docs.  The pencil size is the same as the wood ones.    

Have a fabulous day!  I'm now off to take the kids to Finding Dory.  :)  

June 19, 2016

It's June and I'm Planning Next Year

I wanted to share my pacing guide for next year, maybe it can help someone.  Even though my school year is August to May, the blank ppt and pdf are August to June.  I had to turn it in at the end of the school year as part of my check out, but I've been tweaking it slightly over the past couple of weeks since summer started... reflections and all that fun stuff.   Here are my links over on Google Drive: 

(PDF for all those other curious people out there).

Blank Powerpoint (Editable) - Just add text boxes and add your own info.

Blank PDF - Just print the background and fill in by hand.  

A little information... 
*Our RCD ELA unit in 4th grade is actually our Social Studies curriculum.  Pretty cool.  
*That means that we are allowed to use novel studies for our ELA block.  We use quite a few materials to support the standards in ELA, but it's so nice not being tied to a mandatory curriculum.  
*Next year the district is also implementing RCD Math using a collection of our math adopted curriculum, Engage NY, and an activity book that is all Common Core aligned.  It's going to be a year of learning to juggle 3 math curriculums (plus interactive notebooks).  
*I also use Ideas by Jivey Mentor Sentences for grammar, and Nancy Fetzer materials for writing.
*Spelling words comes from Ladybug Teacher's Morphology.
*Last, Science is slowly transitioning from our CA State Standards over to the new NGSS... it's a slow transition.  

Hope this helps.  :)  

June 9, 2016

Morning Whiteboard Messages - Why I LOVE them! {Giveaway}

For years I've had my students respond to prompts to learn more about them and to build our classroom community.  This year I bumped those prompts to a transition piece (instead of just in our Whole Class Writing Journals or on Fridays for reflection), and it was absolutely wonderful.  The kids got an engaging little brain break that double dipped to build relationships.  

Win Win!  

I don't know about you though, but once the day gets going, I can't just erase everything on the board to write a prompt, or sometimes the whiteboard is filled with things we need to save... or there were those moments in the morning that I did have a clean whiteboard, but I couldn't think of what to write for a prompt...  

This summer I decided my big project will be to create a years worth of prompts for my students to use.  The same prompts that I've used over the years, but putting it into a format that allows me to either:

1.) Project it on my screen.


2.) Print & Stick it up on the board.


3.) Put the printed prompt in a writing station.

I'm personally leaning toward having the files on my desktop and just clicking it on in the morning.  Students can respond somedays on their whiteboards, other days in their journals, and still others I can pass out the response sheets and we can add them to our exit slip pocket chart so everyone can see their responses.  Then my big whiteboard can stay all set for our math lesson.  

So far, I've made up 2 sets with 20 prompts each.

The first set is an "Anytime" set because it can be used anytime of the year.


The second set is geared toward Back to School and has specific questions that are perfect for the transition to a new grade level.

Check out the preview at TPT to see every single page.
Each prompt has it's own corresponding reflection sheet (quarter page size).  I wanted to get them ready now on the off chance that when I have a sub next year, it will be an easy print & go, then I can still see my students' responses, and our routine can stay the same on a sub day. 

Would you like one of the sets?  Just leave your email below, and I'll choose 2 winners on Saturday evening.  Both sets are presently 50% off too, only $1.50 each.

I hope you are having a fabulous day!  

June 7, 2016

I Survived

Teacher at the beginning of the school year and teacher at the end of the school year.

I did survive the End of School 2016.  It was one of the most exhausting ends of school since 2015.  Ha ha!  LOL!  

Seriously though, I've been decompressing for the past week, and I have to say that my eye has stopped twitching, my stress related headaches have gone away, and I'm starting to get more than 6 hours of sleep per night.  In the past week I've read 4 books, gone to the movies twice (Angry Birds with my boys, and Me Before You with my sis & mom), celebrated 2 family birthdays, and my house is back to being clean (at least for the moment - I do have 3 sons).  Every school year I try to find that mythical thing called BALANCE, and every May I realize that I don't know what that word really means.  

But it's now June. 

Ah Summer. The time when teachers become human again.

This year I only brought home 2 file boxes worth of stuff from my classroom.  That's it.  Everything else is prepped and waiting for me when I head back in August.  Out of those 2 boxes - one is paperwork, the other is filled with markers, highlighters, and glue sticks that I don't want to dry out over the summer.  That other box is stuff that my boys don't need anymore and I'll be bringing it to school... I'm terrified that I've forgotten something in the classroom, but honestly I can't think of what I need now.  I just finished my 16th year of teaching, and this has never happened before.  I don't know how in the world it happened that I have an entire summer to relax but my friend & teammate said it's because we started earlier this time around.


For that I want to thank our testing coordinator for scheduling our CCSS test the last week of February.  After testing was complete (the first week of March), my brain automatically started thinking of prepping for next year, even though it was 2 months earlier than normal.  

Here's what helped me:

I made lists.  Lots and lots of lists.  

I started early, even if that meant hiding finished projects under tables.

I took pictures of what I'd completed and of my prepped copies.

I tried to plan mostly independent and engaging activities for the last 2 weeks of school.  Two top winners were our Candy Science Experiment Day, and the week we used the Hot Wheels Speedometry kit for our lessons.  Both of these turned out to be free activities - The Hot Wheels kit came from their website, where it's free for 4th grade teachers and I asked my classroom families to help by donating the needed candy.  By only having to supervise students, I was able to wrap up a lot of random tasks during the school day.  As students finished activities, they also became my helpers (which they begged to do) and helped to tackle some jobs that they were capable of completing.  

Are you out of school yet?  Did you survive?  Are you still decompressing?  
It'll take some time to feel human once again.  Have a great night!