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Five For Friday Linky and FLASH FREEBIE!!

Another piecemeal week:

  1. Monday – no school for MLK
  2. Tuesday – no school for Staff Professional Development
  3. Wednesday – back to school
  4. Thursday – no school due to cold weather…AGAIN
  5. Friday – back to school
  6. Weekend

And another next week:

  1. Monday – gone at SIOP training OR school will be cancelled again because of this…

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 9.52.15 PM

2.  Tuesday – gone 1/2 the day for PLC
3.  Wednesday through Friday – back to school (hopefully!)

Let’s just cancel everything until Spring!  I’m linking up with Doodlebug’s for her Five for Friday Linky!  Click the picture (or here) to link up too!  Here we go!

five-for-friday-linky

1

I would like to share Think Tinks!!!  I created Think Tinks to stretch my higher learners during our LEAP time.  I honestly don’t even know what that acronym stands for.  It is basically our daily intervention time (30 minutes).  Here’s how it works.  Students are assigned “learning groups”:

  • Some go to the computer lab and work on Study Island or Reading Eggs
  • Some go to another teacher for the program Making Connections
  • Some work with a Minnesota Reading Corps teacher
  • Some work in a guided reading group with me
  • The students who are not in one of the above groups are left in my room and are my “independent workers” – these kiddos are typically able to handle more challenging and independent activities during this time…and guess who gets to plan it?

I try to mix up the activities my independent workers do, but also keep some structure and routine at the same time.  Here is the schedule – my fab colleague, Kelli, coined some of the catchy names (visit her blog here):

Math Monday
Technology Tuesday
Word Wednesday
Think Thursday
Free Friday

I designed Think Tinks for Think Thursdays!  Here are 3 student examples of one of the Think Tink pages.

think-tink-title

think-tinks-student-example

think-tinks-student-example-2

think-tinks-student-example-3

think-tinks-TPT-storeHead over to my TPT store by clicking here (or the picture above) to snag this set for FREE (for a limited time)!    If you grab the freebies and use them in your class, I would love to see or hear about your students’ responses!  Leave me some feedback love about Think Tinks!

2

We have been plugging away at multiplication and this week we dove into division!  For this, we busted out the counters and they ROCKED it!  I was seriously impressed – not only could they represent the word problems with the counters, they could write the equation too!  Let’s hope it sticks!

beginning-division-with-counters

3

Okay, this one is not teaching related.  One of my friends attended the Gopher Hockey game and spotted my twin!!  Here she is!!  We pretty much have the exact same hair…maybe someday I’ll run into her myself!

kates-doppleganger

4

Here is how I display my daily objectives (sorry – the pic on the right was taken right after I erased for the day).  They are front and center next to my Smartboard.

Lately, I have been trying to include more academic language in the objective and then using parentheses to insert “everyday” language.  If you look at the pic on the left, the red words were inserted after we discussed the objectives.  The kids help decide what word goes there!  It’s been working well!

displaying-objectives-3

5

A bit of personal and professional positive self-talk!

I-am-going-to-succeed

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Skyscraper Multiplication Game – FLASH Freebie!!

Need a new game for your Math Centers or just for fun?  Check this one out!  Free for 48 hours!  Let me know what you think of it – an addition version will be coming soon – check back often!  Click here or on the pictures below to grab it in my TPT store!

Skyscraper Multiplication Game

There are 2 game boards for differentiation.  They come in color and black & white!

Skyscraper Multiplication Game

 

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Five For Friday Linky and Slim-Down Saturday Linky!

Even though it’s Saturday, I’m linking up with Doodle Bug’s Five for Friday Linky!  Here are some random things from this week (and some older stuff that I just want to share!).

#1

Back in December, we taught a Rainforest Animal Research Unit.  Along with a written report, students had to create a visual aid.  It could be as simple or elaborate as students wanted.  Here was a conversation I had with a student.

Student:  Mrs. McDonald…my project is probably like 16 feet long!

Me: {thinking…okay, that is an exaggeration}  Oh wow!  I don’t know how we’ll display a 16 foot         project! {thinking…he must be confusing feet with inches}

(fast forward a week later)

Me: {jaw drops as mom brings the anaconda project into classroom}….

Anaconda Door Decoration

I didn’t know how I was going to display it!  Last year, I did the whole tree and vines around my door.  As I was visualizing that display, I thought I could rig it up outside the door!  I used trusty 3M hooks and string!  You can imagine what all the students’ reactions were as they walked down the hall and saw it!

#2

The week before Winter Break, I was out sick for 3 days with pneumonia…yuck!  I wanted to share this funny post-it that a student wrote while I was gone.  I can always count on someone in the room to report the major offenses while I am out!

Funny Student Note

#3

Have you heard of these fabulous little inventions?  Pen-Pals!!  Not the kind you write letters to.

Pen-Pals

 I found them at Office Depot or Office Max…can’t remember which one.  They were $0.99 each.  You can probably find them even cheaper online.  They have an adhesive back and I stuck one to each desk.  For kids that like to pick and peel things off their desks, they will come off.  If they come off I use Crazy Glue (shhhhhh…don’t tell our custodian).  Try peeling that off now kiddo {muah ha ha ha}!

#4

This week we tackled strategies for all our basic facts!  When we got to the 9s, I wanted to show them the finger trick.  As I was awkwardly trying to show my hands to them and describe what I was doing, I decided to quickly trace my hand and cut it out…sooooooo much easier to show them and explain!

Learning 9s Facts

#5

This week we continued our country study in Reader’s Workshop.  We learned how to use an index to find specific information and on Friday we focused on finding information about their Country’s history.  After students jotted history facts on post-its, they attempted (keyword: attempted) to put their facts in order like a timeline.  It didn’t go that well…but that’s okay!  Reading about history is hard unless you have a lot of background knowledge (which they don’t).  I  was happy that they could use the index!

Creating Timelines

Click  here or the image below to join the linky and share 5 things from your classroom!

five-for-friday-linky

I am also linking up with Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits for Slim-Down Saturday!  Here’s how my week went:

Slim-Down Saturday

Come join us and stay focused with your health goals!  Click here or the picture below to take part!

slim-down-saturday-button

I am off to make a late dinner!

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Monday Math Linky – How to Differentiate with Math Games!

snow day

Enter to win 1 product from my TPT store (your choice)!  Ends Sunday, 2/21 at  11:59pm!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Monday!  I am linking up with Jess over at I Heart Recess for Mathematical Monday!  What are you doing in Math this week?  Click here or on the image to head over and link-up!

monday math linky

Before I share the most engaging game I have ever taught my students, let me show you the Math Center area of our room.  I attempt to differentiate everyday…it doesn’t always happen, but I try!

Math Centers Area

Every room in our building has a super loud and super huge vent (the white thing in the picture).  However, they are magnetic!  So, it isn’t a total waste of space!  I pushed my file cabinets up against it to make an even bigger magnetic area (and to hide the ugly things).  I also covered the back of the library shelf in purple paper and hooked up the red file folder wall pocket thingy with 3M hooks (I couldn’t live without these things!).  A few years ago, someone was giving away the two wooden benches!!  SCORE!!  As you can see, I am also in love with plastic drawers!  They are perfect for storing manipulatives, cards, and other math tools.

Put it all together and I have a lovely little Math area – complete with a Math vocabulary wall!  We use Math Expressions and I’ve created my own vocab cards for some of the units.  Click here to visit my TPT store and grab them for free – they are organized by unit in my store!  Here are some snapshots of the vocab cards – if you snag them, leave me some feedback love on TPT!  You may even want to grab my Vocabulary Graphic Organizer!

FREE Math Vocabulary Cards

Academic Vocabulary Graphic Organizer

Everything on the vent in my classroom is magnetic and easily moveable.  I put either magnetic tape or magnetic dots on the back of all my vocab cards.

Since this is Math post, here is an equation for you:

magnetics-happy

Let me tell you how this all works in a perfect world!  Every student has a magnetic name tag that I move around daily (eh…every other day-ish…).

Math Differentiation

Our Math time is split.  We have the first chunk from 11:45-12:40 and then we come back after lunch for a 20-minute chunk.  This is when we have “Math Centers”.  I usually move their names while they are at lunch.  When they come back, they know where to go.  They are assigned to one of four places.  Many are moved to a game.  I pre-teach all my games (often during Morning Meeting).  Most of the games focus on basic fact fluency or multi-digit addition or subtraction.

Math Differentiation Games

Students that don’t need fact practice and have their adding and subtracting down are assigned to a challenge packet.

Math Differentiation

I keep the challenge packets in that magnetic pocket (see the gold packets near the bottom?).  I put together challenge packets with whatever resources I can find.  I also created Think Tinks!  Theses could be used as a challenge activity – even though they aren’t technically math…they encourage flexible and out-of-the box thinking!

Think Tinks

Click the links below to view all 3 volumes of Think Tinks:

Think Tinks – Starter Pack (pages #1-#6)
Think Tinks – Volume Two (pages #7-12)
Think Tinks – Volume Three (pages #13-18)

Students that need extra support meet in a group with me.  I have spots for 2 groups, but I often only get to 1 in a day (especially in winter when it takes them a bajillion minutes to get their winter gear on and off).

Math Differentiation

Finally, if students need to finish class worksheets or if I want them to continue practice with a certain skill via a worksheet, there name goes under A, B, or C.  These letters coordinate with a slot in the red file folder pocket.  Students know that if their name is under “A”, then they need to complete the worksheet in pocket “A”.

Math Differentiation

What games to I play?  I find lots of games online or I create my own!  Bullseye is a class favorite!  Other favs are Something BigBig Difference, and Skyscraper!  I have a few of them in my TPT store – with more coming soon – follow my blog and TPT store for updates!  Click here to read about how I have students organize and store all their game boards!

Differentiated Math Games

There is one game that is like no other!  Students will be screaming with excitement (literally) as they play.  Let me introduce you to…3-WAY!!!!!!!  This game is super engaging and practices a pretty high level skill – finding unknown factors (or addends).  It can be played addition-style or multiplication-style!  Here are the rules!  Click here to grab a FREE PDF of the rules or to project in your classroom to teach the game!  I plan to introduce this game (multiplication-style) this week!

3-way-game

I hope you enjoy this game!  Click the pic or here to download the directions for FREE!  What are your favorite Math games?

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Caffeine and Lesson Plans 500 Follower Giveaway and Some FREE Neon Frames!

My first set of neon frames are complete!  FREE for the first 48 hours!  Grab yours in my TPT store by clicking here or the image below!  I love how they turned out…bright!  They really look like they are glowing neon lights!  I just absolutely LOVE creating these things – I am just getting started!  Keep checking back for more and let me know what you think of them!  I think this post has a record breaking number of exclamation points…can you tell I’m excited about these!

Neon Frames

I am also extremely excited to be a part of Mandy’s (Caffeine and Lesson Plans) 500 Follower Giveaway!  Come and celebrate her milestone!  Click the picture below to see all the fabulous goodies you could win and to enter the raffle!  The party is going on for 7 days!

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I feel ready for the week (surprisingly)!

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Need a Valentine’s Day Book and Activity?

This 3-day week felt LONG and my sleep schedule is extremely off-kilter.  It’s to the point where I was nodding off at the wheel on my way to school – not good!  Anyway, a few things for you today!

1) A Valentine’s Day Book and Activity
2) New Neon Frames (Sneak Peek)
3) Slim Down Saturday Linky
4) Our Country Study Kick-Off

 

1) A Valentine’s Day Book and Activity

The book Heartprints is a cute little book about kindness!  It doesn’t necessarily have a connection to Valentine’s Day other than the hearts – but the message is powerful!  I always read this book in the beginning of the year but it would be very appropriate this time of year too!

After we read, the kids write down kind things they can do to leave heartprints behind!  I just copied some little paper hearts on a variety of colors and each student got 6 hearts.  If you want to snag the hearts template (it is nothing fancy), a pdf of the book cover (it has my class library label on it – see the picture below), and a Smartboard file for this activity, then click here!  Here is our door display!

Heartprints Book Display

Heartprints Book

As I was Googling to find a cover image of the book, I found another blogger, Primary Practice, who wrote the definition of a heartprint.  You can get a copy of it at her blog here or click the picture!

Heartprint Definition

Have fun spreading love and kindness!

 

2) New Neon Frames (Sneak Peek)

I have been tinkering around with creating digital frames and borders and I am excited about these bright and glowing neon frames!  They aren’t quite ready yet (hopefully in the next couple of days), so follow me for updates or keep checking my TPT store (there are a few other fun frame freebies to grab while you wait for the neon ones)!

Neon Frames

 

3) Slim Down Saturday Linky

It is Week 2 of Third Grade Tidbits Slim Down Saturday Linky!  I didn’t do so hot this week…oh well!  Join us to Slim Down by clicking here or on the picture!

slim-down-saturday-button

slimdown

4) Our Country Study Kick-Off

Now, for a little bit from our classroom this week!  We kicked-off our Country Unit in Reader’s Workshop!  Here’s how the kick-off went:

country-study-kick-off
Of course, they really aren’t bored with it at all – they are LOVING it!

Day 1 – Students just browsed all the different country books and then they wrote down their top 2 countries.

Day 2 – My fab colleague, Kelli over at Tales of a Teacher printed out some super cute “plane tickets”.  I filled out their plane tickets, which told them what country they were “going to” and who they were “traveling with” (their partner for the unit).  It is amazing how a little pretend plane ticket brought so much excitement!

Day 3 – We learned that before we “travel” (or read a book about a country) we usually have questions about the place we are “going to” (or reading about).  So we listed as many questions as they could think of.  That day as they read, they jotted any answers they found!

Day 4 – I cut apart all our little questions from Day 3 and we categorized them based on similarities.  Here we are categorizing.

RW Country Unit

We had some good discussion about where different questions would fit.  I really let the students group them.  We came up with these groups (sorry for blurry photos):

RW Country Unit

After this, students had to come up with a heading for each group (synthesizing…this is usually not easy for my class!).  They did fantastic!  Here are our final categories (I had to help them with the “values” category):

RW Country Unit

Students realized that no matter what country they are reading about, the books are usually organized in a similar way…by these big ideas!  Finally, we turned these headings into “essential questions” and now students are reading voraciously to answer them!  So fun!

That’s it for today!  Thanks for visiting!

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For the first time ever…

Well, I did it!  I have been debating this move for awhile and finally just did it.  It was a difficult decision but one that I am not regretting!  What did I do you ask?

left-my-teacher-bag-at-school

{insert the shocking dun dun duuuun music}

Every night (and always with good intentions) I lug home a bag FULL of stuff plus a bin FULL of stuff.  I am sure you can guess what happens.  It…just…sits…there.  But it doesn’t sit silently.  It guilts me every night as I neglect it.  Not anymore.  It was an amazing feeling getting out of my car when I got home with nothing but my purse to carry in!  From now on, my teacher bag (and bin) will only come home on the weekends…no more weeknights!  I need more time for me!  My bag of school work will be there waiting patiently for me in the morning!

Curious…how much work do you bring home with you every night?

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Free Valentine’s Day Clipart and Frames!

I don’t know about you, but I love lists…organized lists!  I am going to attempt to organize this blog post for you because it is LONG and I completely understand not having the time to (or just not wanting to) read all of it.  So here’s the outline…read it all or scroll to something more interesting!

1) The Weather and One Little Word Linky
2) Weight Watchers and Slim Down Saturday Linky
3) My Blog Twin
4) Free Valentine’s Day Frames, Bubbles, and Hearts

 

1) The Weather and One Little Word Linky
Imagine walking outside and having all the snot in your nose instantly freeze!  That is us today and tomorrow up here in Minnesota…yah you betcha it’s cold!

Brrrrr

And we just got word that school is cancelled AGAIN tomorrow!  With Winter Break and now these cold “snow” days…I feel so out of school mode!  Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE having days off!  Speaking of love, I am linking up with Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade  with “My One Little Word for 2014”.  Here is mine!  Click the image to link-up with your one little word!

one-little-word

There are days when I feel so stressed and worked to the max at school that I forget what I LOVE about it (and there really are too many things to list).  Here are just some of the things I LOVE about my job:

      LOVE the Kids!

  • Seeing them learn something and being really proud of it
  • Affirming them when they peak up at me from their desks looking for encouragement
  • Sharing their excitement about sleepovers, birthday parties, and family events they tell me about
  • Hearing their funny and awkward stories, questions, and comments
  • Watching them interact with each other

      LOVE the Creativity!

  • Being able to create (lesson plans, smart board slides, worksheets, classroom decorations, whatever!) – I love the process of creating ANYTHING…I get an adrenaline rush when I finish something!
  • Being able to decorate – my classroom is colorful, bright, and cheery yet also very homey and cozy!
  • Being able to create positivity within my room (okay some days this doesn’t happen…).  I honestly believe our thoughts project invisible energy (I know I might sound like a wacko).  Honestly though, on those hard days (the kind where I want to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs), if I can force myself to think positively, smile, and be happy – everything and everyone around me is happy too (usually)!

      LOVE my Team!

  • Kelli Olson (visit her over at Tales of a Teacher) and Scott Swedeen are my rocks!
  • We are 3 peas in a pod
  • We constantly collaborate, support, encourage, listen, help, and have fun together!

 I have to remember the things that lift me up…especially on the days when I feel down!

2) Weight Watchers and Slim Down Saturday Linky

As part of the New Year, I rejoined Weight Watchers (for the 1,353,892 time)!  And this time it is going to stick!  Here is the history.  In a time long ago, as a young college student, I gave up the Mountain Dew and Pop-Tarts and I lost 53 pounds!!  Fast forward 10 years and I actually have kept most of it off (except for a few sneaky pounds)!  However, my eating and exercising habits swing from one extreme to the other (and that is not healthy).  For some extra accountability, I am joining Gina at Third Grade Tidbits for Slimdown Saturdays!  Which is perfect because my WW meetings are on Saturdays!  Click the images to head over and join us!

slim-down-saturday-button

slimdown-saturday

3) My Blog Twin

Three weeks ago, I was trying to come up with a name for my blog.  My last name is McDonald.  Whenever I have to create a login anywhere, McDonald is always taken.  So I shrink it up to McDee.  I thought why not use that in my blog name?  Then I wanted something cute (of course), so I started thinking of rhyming words.  I came up with McDee’s Busy Bees.  So there I was, happy as a clam, with my new blog ready to go.  As I was perusing through the world of blogs, I spotted this button {eyes wide and bulging}

Miss-V-Busy Bees Button

My heart….just….dropped.  OMG – I had used the same name as someone else…not just someone else…Sara from Miss V’s Busy Bees!!  I felt like I had committed a blogging crime…I felt so guilty!  I had just set up my entire blog!  I was mad at myself for not researching similar blog names beforehand!  Now would I have to change it?  Do I ignore it?  Do I contact her?  Do I erase everything I have created and start from scratch?

I put myself in her shoes.  If I had an established blog and I saw that someone had basically the same name as me…I would probably wonder is it a coincidence or copying?  So, I headed to her blog to find her email address.  I sent her an email confessing to her my blogging faux paux.  I really wanted to respect her blog!  I eagerly awaited her reply (and was fully prepared to start my blog over from…the…beginning).

Her response came quickly.  I read it {heart beating}.  I couldn’t believe it.  She responded with the most kind, supportive, encouraging email and said her only suggestion would be “to keep on bloggin’, girl!”  Wahhhhooooooo!!!  Guilt relieved!!!  I felt so happy!!!  Sara will now have an honorary spot in my sidebar forever!  Thank you blog twin!

P.S.  We both have kitties that look almost the same…here is my new kitten, Peeta.  Check out her cat, Socks, here!

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4) Free Valentine’s Day Frames, Bubbles, and Hearts

I have been dabbling in the world of creating graphic images!  I am just learning and have made only a few items.  Hopefully, there will be many more to follow!  Click below to snag some of the Valentine’s Day freebies for yourself!

glitter-and-heart-clipart

shiny-frames

Kelli also made come cute little Valentine’s Day hearts!  Grab them in her store or click the picture below!

hearts

If you made it through all of that…well done!  I am off to enjoy the rest my “snow” day today!

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How To Get Students to Share Weekly Newsletters With Families

We started back up on Thursday and Friday and spent the days reviewing expectations and getting back into the groove of school…and now we have another day off [doing the happy dance].  I’m way up here in Minnesota and Sunday night is supposed to be -22 with windchill into the -50s [teeth chattering].  As a result, Governor Dayton has called off school for the whole state!  So, to start of my post, as I sit comfortably knowing that tomorrow (Sunday) is really like my Saturday, I’m linking up with Farley at Oh’ Boy, Fourth Grade with January’s edition of “Currently”.

Currently Linky

Alrighty, on to our 2 days back this past week.  Both days were a mixture of reviewing expectations and some fun stuff!  Let’s start with the fun stuff first!  After being out for 3 days before Winter Break with Pneumonia, I came back to school a little discombobulated and unprepared.  My fabulous colleague, Kelli over at Tales of a Teacher, came to the rescue sharing many of her resources with me!  She created a Winter Break Buzz Book for her students.  It is a nifty little tri-fold brochure for students to complete telling all about their break!  It was THE perfect thing for morning work and for any down time over Thursday and Friday!  Click any of the pics below to visit her TPT store and get yours!

Winter Break Buzz Book

Winter Break Buzz Book Winter Break Buzz Book

On to the next activity!  Our school is an “RC” School (Responsive Classroom) and January is considered “Re-Month”.  Basically a time to review, remember, and remodel school expectations.

I wanted to review all the components of our Reader’s Workshop (mini-lesson, independent reading, how to use our library, how to choose “Just-Right” books, etc.).  Reviewing all of these things had the potential to be a very boring, mind-numbing, kids-staring-at-me-with-blank-faces-while-I-talk-on-and-on-and-on kind of lesson.  However, I made it a bit more exciting (and less work for me) by having the students work in groups and do all the work themselves…haha!

First, I took big pieces of 9×12 construction paper and wrote one area to review on each piece.  I ended up with seven pieces of paper each labeled with the following areas:

  • Read Aloud/Snack
  • Mini-Lesson
  • Independent Reading
  • Using the Library
  • Small Groups
  • Choosing “Just-Right” Books
  • Turn and Talks

Students worked in groups to review and remember everything they know about the expectations for each area.  After 2-3 minutes at one poster, the groups rotated to the next and added on.  Here they are!  Hard at work!

Reviewing Reader's Workshop Expectations Reviewing Reader's Workshop Expectations Reviewing Reader's Workshop Expectations Reviewing Reader's Workshop Expectations

After all groups had rotated to every poster, we had the posters below!  Each group used a different colored marker so they could see all the different groups’ contributions!  They really do know what is expected of them – they don’t need me yacking to remind them!

Reviewing Independent Reading Expectations Reviewing Mini Lesson Expectations Reviewing Partner Talk Expectations Reviewing Expectations for Using the Library Reviewing Expectations for Choosing Just Right Books Reviewing Small Group Expectations

Finally to wrap up this post, I was reflecting on how well I know my students.  I know them very well academically, but I want to know them more personally!  Then all of a sudden my mind wandered to my weekly newsletter.  I was thinking about how often students actually show it to their families.  Then my wandered again to my morning message and how I wanted it to be more interactive.

I hope I am not the only one who has a mind that goes fifty million different directions within minutes!  My mind is a busy place…but it somehow put all those thoughts together and came up with a brilliant idea!

I quick whipped up a one-page Word document that said “Our Favorite School Subjects” at the top.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Students were directed to write their favorite subject and their name in the Morning Message (there is the solution to making the morning message more interactive).
  2. I could quickly see some of my students’ favorite subjects (there is the solution to wanting to know my students more personally).
  3. Then I took the piece of paper with all their responses and copied it back-to-back with our newsletter!  My students were so excited to see their own written responses on the back!  I encouraged them to go home and show their families (there is the solution to increasing the amount of families that see the weekly newsletter).

Boom…three problems solved with one idea!  Plus, what a fun way for families to learn more about all the kids in our class!

Class Sharing Sheets

Of course I wanted to “fancy-it-up”…and because I often start these little things and then (unintentionally) abandon them, I wanted to create all my “topics” ahead of time so that I have no excuses for not continuing this!

Voilà – this is the result:

Class Sharing Sheets

I am going to try the “free for the first 48 hours” thing on Teachers Pay Teachers with all my new products!  Check them out for yourself and spread the word if you think others would like this idea!

Time for bed!

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Organizing and Labeling Classroom Library Books and Some Linkys!

Well, it’s the last day of Winter Break [crying and pounding fists].  Okay, I am really not that upset, but being out of school for over a week makes it difficult to want to start up again.  I don’t know about you, but I have developed  some bad habits (sleeping until 10:00, staying up until 1:00, sitting on the couch ALL day in my comfy clothes without showering, obsessively learning about blogging, etc.).  But I am looking forward to seeing my students and their bright-eyed smiles!

Before I jump into more about how my library is organized, I’ll share my resolutions from A Peach for the Teach’s  Resolutions Link-Up!  Here are mine – click the image to link-up yours!

Resolutions

 

I also found Tara’s post from 4th Grade Frolics about “Me”…not me…but you…focussing on you for the New Year…lol.  Check out her blog!  I’m linking up with her today and sharing!  Just like her, I tend to pour everything into my job.  Now that I have also discovered the world of blogging, I am not sure where I will fit everything in!  The one thing for me this year is to find balance.  I am not sure how I will do that…any suggestions are greatly appreciated!  How do you all do it and do it all well?

One for Me Linky

Onto the next topic!  I thought I would share how I label my library books as they are the most precious item in my classroom!  If you didn’t catch my post showing my library and how I organize the bins, you can check it out here!

My individual book labels are just printed on average mailing address labels.  As mentioned in an earlier post, I label each of the bins in my library by genre.  I made my own labels that fit the Sterilite bins from Target – grab them here in my TPT store for free!

The bin labels are colored coded to help kids find things!

  • Blue – Non-Fiction
  • Green – Chapter Books
  • Pink – Picture Books
  • Red – Other (Jokes, Poetry, Short Story Anthologies, etc.)

Classroom Library Genre Labels

Each of my individual book labels match the genre bin label.  Each individual book label also has a small colored sticker that represents the Fountas and Pinnell level.

Classroom Library Book Labels

Here is how I divided up the levels by sticker color:
Green Stickers – Levels A  through H
Blue Stickers – Levels H through N
Yellow Stickers – Levels O through R
Red Stickers – Levels S through Z

I organized my library this past summer and I actually wish I would have broken up the blue sticker levels a bit more.  I would have added another color for levels M and N because there is such a big jump in difficulty between the H-N range.  Anyway, it works for now.  Here are a few pictures!  If I know the exact F&P level, I write it on the sticker.  If I don’t know the exact level, I just make a guess at what color sticker I think it would be and leave it blank.

Classroom Library Book Labels

Classroom Library Book Labels

Classroom Library Book Labels

Classroom Library Book Labels

Here is our Library Reminders anchor chart that we have posted!

Classroom Library Reminders Anchor Chart

The last item I will share today is our “Just-Right Book” anchor chart.  Click on the picture to get those little bicycle pics if you want to make a similar chart!

Choosing Just Right Books Anchor Chart

Now I need to plan for our first day back tomorrow!

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