Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Ready, Blog Hopping and Shopping

Good morning!  The summer is winding down and the stress is starting to build!  I am trying hard to enjoy my last few days of summer vacation with my girls.  I'm heading to a water park for part of the day today.  I have had to let my blinders down and realize school is coming quickly!

When I sit down to work it is so easy to get lost in blog land!  There are so many great ideas out there!  I feel a little bad when it side tracks me from getting my work done, but then I find a great blog and activity like this and it is all good!   Check out this blog!   Math Coach's Corner: Thinking About Five-ness There is so much out there on reading, but here is a blog devoted to math!  I love it.  I really like the freebie she has for making 5.  I am going to use this during the first few weeks of first grade.

I have been shopping a little lot too!  We are going to uniforms this year at school, so I am busy finding uniforms for the girls.  I have also found some great classroom finds at the Target dollar spot and my favorite Dollar Tree!  I am planning a trip to teacher store for some more serious shopping, and of course the internet makes it possible to shop from the comfort of my couch.

I am delighted and amazed to have been given several blog awards lately!  I am looking around for great sites to pass it on.  I hope to do this this week.

Enjoy your last days of summer!

Friday, July 13, 2012

IKEA Finds and 50 Freebie!

I was so happy to wake up this morning and see that I now have 50 followers! (I am almost as excited as I would be if I really had my Fifty a.k.a. Christian Grey!!!) I am going to start working harder and my goal is to hit 100 before I go back to school. In honor of the big 5-0 I have a fabulous 50 Freebie. Click on the image to download.
I am in Orlando for a few days and hit IKEA and found a couple of great things for the classroom and the best part is they are cheap!

My favorite IKEA find ever! You can get 5 book boxes for $1.99! I have used these for a couple of years and they hold up well. I did tape the bottoms this year and it helped with fall outs from the bottoms. The only negative is that you can't (or couldn't in the past) order them online. So you have to make the trip or find someone who is!

I also found these curtain clips, they were 24 for $2.99! There was also a curtain wire you could get to hang them on. I am just going to put them on string to hang student work from. I will show you pictures when I get them up. I love them!

Another fabulous find was these pop-up mini buckets. They are color coded and numbered. I am going to use them for leveling center activities. I also know there are many other things I can use them for, any ideas????

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Look What I Spotted at the Dollar Spot!

I was on one of my frequent trips to Target and spotted new items being added to the Dollar Spot! They were just starting to add new things so I didn't see it all, but what I did see I loved!!!! Check out all of the Dr. Seuss things. (I wish they had these things in Feb./ March.) They had a great Lorax line of items. I also love the little bags. They would make great "book bags." They had a "Red Fish, Go Fish" numbers card game.
I loved, loved, loved these little buckets! I was upset I missed the 4th of July buckets when they hit clearance, but these are so much better!
They also had new dry erase boards, The boards are set up "portrait" instead of "landscape". Fabulous for First Grade! I so wish they sold these items on line.

What did you spot and love in your Target Dollar Spot?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Does "Bucket Fillers" work for you??

I am thinking ahead for the year and planning in my mind. I have feel like I have really good classroom management, but I know you can always get better! I'm thinking or doing "Bucket Fillers" this year. I want to know who has used it and their thoughts and advice about it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fabulous Giveaway and Blog!

As I was blog hopping today, (suppose to be working and I get easily sucked into all of these great blogs and post) I found this wonderful site of a K/1 teacher! She has just reached over 500 followers and is having a giveaway! Even if you don't enter the contest, the blogs/ products that have linked up with her are amazing!

I must do my work.... but I really don't want to...


The Homework Dilema and Manic Monday Freebie!

It is July, the month I let myself start thinking and preparing more about the next school year. I try to make myself take the last half of June off (usually without much success.) Today I am pondering the homework question....

I have tried many different ways of doing homework. I have done weekly packets, nightly homework and a calendar. I have done differentiated homework packets and challenge homework packets.

I am a Mom of two girls (going into 3rd and 6th) and will admit their homework assignments have been a reality check! In my perfect world a student will complete their homework, study for their test and read for 20-30 minutes every night. In my real world, we rush from school to gymnastics, dance or softball. Eat dinner in the car while rushing the other child to a different event. I would love to actually get a little exercise in for me (thought not likely.) We get home at dark, take showers then sit down to do homework. I make sure what has to be done is done before they go to sleep. I love, love, love packets because we can do more on a slightly less crazy night. I am so proud of how well my girls can now use their time wisely and will work on assignments before and after school in the classroom, in the car or the day before. Sadly I will have to admit reading is usally the thing that gets put off.

As a teacher, I want the homework to be meaningful for the students and not take me forever to put together or check. This past year, I used a "homework menu" where the students had several must-do's and then could pick from the other lists. Most assignments helped review for upcoming test and skills practice. There were several computer based practice methods and several that were not computer based. I think the students and parents like it. It was pretty easy for me to put together and I just checked it for completeness. The students could challenge themselves by completing all of the activities if they wanted too. I did "tweak" the menu every month or so. Homework is not part of their grade. However it is the kids who do not do their homework who score poorly on their weekly test.

Click on the image bellow to download the menu we used as a pdf. You can download the Word file here, but I don't know if the format will hold on your computer, but you can make the adjustments you may need.
I am interested to know, what do your do for homework in your class. Weekly or nightly? Do you grade it for correctness or completeness? Is it part of their grade. What are your plans for this year? I look forward to reading the comments and getting more ideas!

Check out Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies for more great Freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
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