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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blogging and Creativity

Well, tomorrow is the day that I present to teachers...as opposed to the little people that I LOVE spending my days with.  

I LOVE teaching but something about standing in a room of people my size makes me get all nervous. My prayer for tomorrow is that every teacher leaves the conference with excitement that is contagious and a new passion to foster creativity within their classroom.

Several years ago I had the privilege of attending a Digital Fluency workshop presented by Kasey Bell. She was amazing and I think I may have learned more from the 30 hours with her than I did in 15 years of training workshops. Seriously. One of the assignments we were given was to implement a new idea in our classroom.  I went with what I thought was the "easiest" for me. I mean, really, I didn't have time to do this and while teaching what I was expected to teach.  I just thought I'd get this assignment done so that I could check it off my list.

Who knew that it was going to change my thinking as a teacher and give my students a VOICE that WE (teachers) sometimes don't hear???

I started with a small group, I actually started with a higher independent group because I believe in empowering students with responsibility.  My first group was going to help me help the other students.  

Wow! The kids LOVED it. They had things they wanted the world to know.  They were experts in their element, they asked their classmates thought provoking questions, and they shared personal struggles that no one would have ever been aware of.  How had I spent the first 3 months of school with these kids and not really have known them??  I didn't know them because I didn't hear them until I gave them a blog and the power of a VOICE.

I don't work for EasyBlog but I am definitely a fan.  This is the blog format that I have chosen to use for my kids. 
I have my notes on the side and I think that if you're a teacher one of those notes is like a BLINKING NEON sign right now. 

Did you notice the note "Creativity is as important as Literacy"?? Yea, I thought you did.  <-I believe this with my whole heart.  Kids are naturally creative and a child that struggles with reading will use creativity to learn to read, understand, or comprehend.  

I KNOW this without a doubt because I have a little girl that struggles with reading and spelling BUT is BRILLIANT and uses her creativity to express her thoughts, share her voice, and figure out her world around her.  Children don't have to be a good writer to blog or share their voice and creativity, they are FULL of creativity naturally, we just need to foster it.  We need to give them opportunities to explore, ask questions, and use their voice.


Teachers--just start this with your kids.  DO NOT over-think it. My husband and kids are pretty good about going along with things that I want to try.  Ask your family to be your pretend class and set it up to use with them.  If you need to do this before school starts then practice and learn it with family or friends. This particular blog platform is EASY and they provide a lot of Q and A and videos to help you.  If you have a question they have the answer.

I would suggest teaching your kids about Digital Citizenship before you actually start blogging. This is the world we live in and I am sure if your students are going to a computer lab they are getting this lesson there too.

The above poster is from The Book Fairy Goddess. She also has bookmarks and other things to teach this lesson.  Click here for other options.


Ya'll I wish I could share this little girl teaching you how to do a multiplication problem! She's amazing! How many of my kids actually understood and learned by watching her rather than watching and listening to me?!? She became the EXPERT! You should also know that she struggled in math and when she became the teacher she learned it on another level. She became very creative in her way of teaching and understanding. I actually had to set a timer on her because she was on a roll with teaching and sharing her learning and could go for hours. ;-)



This is another kid that I would love for you to watch his How To Make An Airplane video. His directions are clear, precise, informative, and your end result is a super fast paper airplane. Teachers, this translates to HOW TO writing. This translates to how to improve or make it better, revision.  

These kids want to share their knowledge and creativity, their element of expertise with the world! 

You can decide how big their audience is.  I've allowed parents and classmates BUT this year my goal is to have BLOGGING BUDDIES. <-This is another class at another school. I would love to be buddies with a class from another country. I may have to reach out to some Australian teachers...who wants to do this with us?? 

Teachers, you can create H.O.T. Blogs!  I liked to link different news articles from DOGOnews and ask students to create, analyze, compare, and design a variety of assignments based on an article that they read. These articles are current events and can be tailored to a particular grade level. 

Kids have a VOICE and we need to give them a platform to share their voice and their creativity.  This can be done when they get to school in the morning, during Daily 5 or stations, in small group, or when they finish an assignment. I understand the struggles of getting everything in but I know that we find time for what is important.

Well, I think that I've definitely shared a passion of mine today because I don't generally think of myself as a writer and I got a little carried away with writing today. ;-)








Monday, July 25, 2016

Making Things for {{MONDAY}}

I've been busy, busy, busy... not so much in the craft section just yet but on the computer. I've joined Tara at 4th Grade Folics to share with all the amazing teachers out there making things.  Stop by to see what's being made...
Can you guess what I'm planning to make this week??  You'll have to wait and see.



Most of the things that I have made this past week have been on this MAC, my buddy. ;-)

 This pack contains heading labels, writing prompts, and writing process display chart ready for me to put up in my room. {click here}


In case you didn't notice that's ME holding the fish.  I think that picture would make a great story.  

Next I made ALL the things that I want to display in my room this year.


Today is the last day it's FREE! There might be something in there that you could use.{click here}

My classroom management and behavior incentive got a little touch up work.{click here}

 The last 2 things that I made(finished) this past week are also FREEBIES if you want to stop and pick them up.
{click here}
 and
{click here}

Well, I told ya'll MAC and I have been hanging out a lot this week.  Hopefully, I have something that you can use. 
Now I'm ready to start Hot Gluing some things.

Friday, July 22, 2016

{{FREEBIE}} Friday Back To School

Feeling Adventurous?!
Some people try a new hairstyle or a fun new paint color in their house. Not me....

As I sit here and type with my left hand only, I'm thinking about how nice a new hairstyle would feel. 

The down time has given me time to go through some of my old TPT products and give them a little LOVIN'

If you want a fun Back to School activity to help kids learn something interesting about their classmates then you might like the Getting to Know You Bags

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Planning for the NEW classroom

Yes, I said NEW.  That's because I'm moving in the building, folks.



I am thrilled to be in the building and definitely feeling a little more relaxed this year.  I MEAN REALLY...

1. I'm not sending a kid to college this year
2. I'm not moving from my town that I lived in for 14 years
3. I'm not leaving my school district that I LOVE and have been apart of for 14 years
4. I'm not closing on a new house 
5. I'm not moving into a new house
6. My husband is not changing careers
7. My tween daughter is not going to a new school-leaving her friends she's had since Pre-K

 Ummmm....that sounds like crazy train!
I was on that train last year.

I'm excited to be a little more relaxed and settled. 

I like to make the things that I want to hang up around my room before I can get in my classroom.  This year I'm going to keep the same colors (bc I don't want to spend any extra money) that I had last year.

I plan on doing a room tour when it's all put together but I just thought I'd share some of the decor here for those that are planning the same colors or need a little direction.


These are the things that you will find in the Back 2 School pack.

It's FREE this weekend so if you think you might like it or your still not sure what you need to put up then go ahead and get it while it's FREE.

Be Blessed,

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

WRITING Station

Kids LOVE to tell you stories but sometimes they get stuck when it's time to write them.  I've created a writing display full of ideas and a variety of reasons to write.

Not only do my students BLOG, which I believe is an important form of communication and a unique way of writing BUT they also WRITE with pencil(or FUN pens) and paper.  They publish stories, write letters to pen pals, make lists, and add entries to their journals. There are a variety of reasons why we write. 


I created the writing display board to help my kiddos establish a purpose when writing and then give them ideas for the purpose they choose.

We formally go through the writing process in our classroom and this can be tracked on the writing process chart with clothespins labeled with each students name or number.
 
If you need ideas or want to make a writing display board you can get it {HERE}. 

Tomorrow I will attend a writing workshop so I'm sure(hope) that I will come back with LOTS of new ideas and can add my learning to this unit.

Be Blessed, 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

TO DO list


Now that July is here I'm really focusing on trying to mark things off my classroom TO DO LIST and if I can share this on Tara's Monday Made It and help another teacher then I feel SUCCESSFUL.

 
The 1st thing I had on my list was my WORD WORK STATION. I bought a 10 drawer caddy (from another teacher-SCORE!) that will become the new word work station. Pictures will come later as I get my room together...


I created some new activities and labels for this station that you can get {here}.
 

I don't like making copies AND it's kind of a HUGE deal at my school so most of the activities can be written in their WORD WORK JOURNAL or the activity does not require paper copies.

The WORD WORK journal will contain a small baggie stapled to the back of each composition journal.This baggie will hold their weekly words. We use Words Their Way so each child will have different words based on their needs. 


The daily schedule will be glued to the inside front cover of their composition journal and will give them a quick reminder of what they will do with their words each day before working in a word work station.  Everyone completes theseThis is also a great visual for a sub. (if you ever have to be out;-)
These activities are completed daily. This will allow me to work with individual spelling groups. 


This is where I'll store my word work station.
I will use the following labels for each drawer. 

  My stations will require:

a set of alphabet stamps
play-doh
stencils
dice
highlighters
markers
small box with salt or sand
activity templates from Word Work Pack

I hope this helps you or makes things a little easier in you room.

Be Blessed,


 
  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Vacay

Friends!--Let me just start off by saying that I think EVERYONE should experience Colorado. If you are planning a vacation and need suggestions....I suggest the mountains.There is something AWEsome about being outside in the middle of mountains and feeling so little. I think it's a reminder of how great our God is and how small we are. 



Well, we needed to do this vacation on the cheap so we thought let's just camp. We are never really in a hotel room anyway so let's save money. 
We loaded up everything that we thought we would need and we were off.

USAFA has campgrounds so we were able to stay right on campus and see Isaiah. It was a beautiful campsite and it had a ton of family games to play.  One of our favorite things to do is tether ball.  Ya'll, we laugh so hard that we are sick after playing this but there is nothing funnier than watching someone try with all their might to hit a ball on a rope and they continue to miss-no matter how athletic you are.
I actually cannot see right now and Josh is holding me up.

Josh and I thought we would ride around the campus... because we ride bikes. I THOUGHT we were in pretty good shape. We are not in Colorado shape. I seriously thought my lungs were going to fall right out of my body and I was going to die. I. NEED. OXYGEN. 



We watched Isaiah's paintball team. We were up at 6am and there until 4pm. It reminded me of baseball tournament weekends when we'd spend the entire day at the ball field.

After 3 days there we loaded up and headed to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This place was gorgeous! (really everything there is gorgeous) 
 


The only bad thing was this...


Actually, this was the worst thing I've ever experienced.  Seriously! I had to deposit quarters to take a shower...NOT COOL. Y'all 4 minutes is NOT long enough to clean your body and wash your hair. The water sprayed from the nozzle like a pressure washer and I could NOT find the HOT water so it was cold. Now picture me standing in this cold concrete stall with shampoo running down my head and the water shutting OFF. Horrible experience. Day 2 of showers and the stupid machine took my money while I'm standing ready(aka naked) to get wet. Yes, I kicked it but it still didn't work.


I guess I'm okay with all of that because I think if I smelled pretty I would not have been able to take selfies with these wild animals. 

That is a MOOSE!!!

ELK selfie!!


We panicked...and I'm not very good with selfies. ;-/

How COOL is this?! I think we must have smelled like wild animals so they let us get close. 

video

Look at this little friend I made.  I felt like Cinderella. I would set out nuts and he would come over and get them. We bonded.  

We spent our very last night on our land in Fairplay, Co.  We didn't have electricty or water hookups but we had each other, we had time, we made memories, and we were reminded again how blessed we are to have each other.  
The view from our land first thing in the morning.
 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER

I LOVED all the coffee cozy contest feedback.  Kimberly was the big WINNER! If you'd like to buy one I'd be happy to make some for you.  I think they'd be fun BTS gifts for teachers and coworkers.  Just send me an email.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, America! {{GIVEAWAY & FREEBIES}}

Happy Birthday, AMERICA!!

Our plan is to swim in the lake, grill hamburgers, watch fireworks, and ride bikes.  ALL American, right?!!
 I'm sure we'll have lots of pictures soon.

In the meantime I've been sewing away and getting things together for Monday Made It and America's Birthday! Stop by Fourth Grade Frolics to see what other teachers have been up to.
  Nothing too exciting...unless dressing up your coffee makes you giddy!! 
 Now that is one good-looking coffee...

I think they would make cozy cute gifts. Wouldn't you LOVE the chance to win one for you and a friend? If you win you can choose your favorite colors or your school colors. Just enter below and I will announce and email the winner Wednesday.



Now I think it's only fair to share the FAILS that we have as we are learning.  If you can't laugh at yourself then........you're probably NO FUN to be around.

I thought the anchors were super cute and I thought they would make a really cute gift for a friendDuring the process of making this super cute anchor gift I discovered that directional print can be a little tricky.

 It totally works if you're into upside down anchors. I thought I'd try it again.
That is MOST DEFINITELY a FAIL! 
Good news, I figured out what I was doing wrong so if you win and want anchors I have a pretty good idea what to do now.

This activity is my kids all-time favorite activity to do during small group but it needed a little refreshing. 
All you need is:
  

 I covered my cans with new labels.


 The kids have to read the words before they can stack. This is a fun and easy activity to make. I also made sight word flashcards for the year.
 This unit contains flashcards for 300 sight words that your 2nd graders need to know. It also has fun bracelets for your kids to wear home the day you introduce the words.
You can get this from my tpt store.

I hope you enjoy every SECOND of your day!!