Saturday, August 24, 2013

Notebook Love (RAVING review ahead)

Do you use notebooks in your class? I started last year with some simple math and science notebooks and my love for them got out of control. See, I HATE having binders with my kids because some of them, no matter what I do, will just shove papers every which way, anywhere they can. And I can't stand the mess. But notebooking solves that problem. Everything is glued right in there! Now, let me start this raving review by saying this, I do NOT use notebooks like most people, with a left side, right side and all that. I use them as needed and as I see fit. Now... onto the most amazing product you will ever find....

Do you "know" Nicole Shelby? I found her things a couple years ago when I was needing to get my act together for science. Well actually, I think I found her daily fix its first. Either way, whatever I found, I loved. LOVED folks. I have not bought a single thing from her that wasn't positively amazing. (Confession- I even have things of hers in my wishlist that I don't even teach... just in case SOMEDAY I teach that topic, I can just grab it up from her... that is how much I love her stuff.Also, my students last year knew her by name because I used so much of her stuff...and even my little thirdsters LOVE her.) So when she started posting her interactive notebook sets, I knew I needed them. And now... I have NO CLUE what I did before them. None.

Now, we haven't delved into the language notebook yet because we are still working on basic sentences. But that is a story for another day. But I already have pages tabbed off for when I get to the topics in the next few weeks... I just didn't want to wait to share about the amazingness that this entails.

The first thing I did was print every single page from the files. Yes... a lot of printing. But I can find things a lot better if they are printed and not on my computer. I organized it a little different than the file is saved. The file has all the images of each page first, organized by CCSS. Yes, she includes a picture of each and every single page that is included in the notebook. Then all the student pages are the second half. I put the image and the student page together to save me from having to flip a lot. I did this for both notebook sets. I hole punched everything and it is in a binder. The binder I swear is my lifeline! Now when I am writing plans I can flip through to find what I need and run my copies quickly. And I love that when possible, there are multiples on a page because we have limited copies!

The other thing I do is make a model page for each page my kids are going to do. This helps me focus my planning and show students what the final product should look like. And of course helps some of them when they need creative help with the coloring.

My class has done three different activities with their RLA notebooks so far and the kids really LOVE them. They don't even mind how much I make them write. The first two we did I told them what I wanted them to write so I could show them how it is done. The third one we worked through together. The students won't usually do the notes pages independently because I want to ensure they have the correct info. BUT, they are at the point that they are able to tell me what we should include. I ask prompting questions and if they don't include everything, I add my own info. Here are some student samples...

The first two we did were characters and connections. And whew, did I forget how slow they are at the beginning of the year?! So now, we cut, glue, and write. And then they can take the notebooks home to color or color when they finish an assignment. Some of my boys really don't care to color and would rather look at the globe on their free time, and I am sure not going to tell them they can't look at the globe! But I will say, the kids LOVE these notebooks. And they are REALLY proud of them. They are very careful to make sure the pages are dry before closing them, especially after seeing a couple kids who didn't listen to me when I said to wait and their pages got ruined. None of them want ruined pages. I love it. I love that they are taking pride in it. And I LOVE that this product exists. The week we did characters was when we read Boom Town. And I have to say, my kids NAILED it. They analyzed Amanda (from the story) like they had done this a million times before! I had the students make a foldable from a different product (review of THAT one coming soon because that is equally amazing) where the students told me Amanda's traits, her motivations and how they changed from beginning-middle-end, and her feelings and how they changed from beginning-middle-end. I was AMAZED. And they did really well on their test question that was asking about how Amanda changed throughout the story. Call me proud!

If you didn't know Nicole Shelby before now, you were missing out. RUN to her store and see why I love everything she makes. (And no, I wasn't asked to post about this... I just truly love her products so much I had to tell anyone that would listen besides my 8 year olds.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pirate's Treasure (WINNERS!)

First let me say that I loved this book study! Even if I didn't get to finish typing all of my posts that I so diligently planned out. And a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped lead a chapter and all the amazing people who participated. If you remember, Dave Burgess contacted Jenn and I and offered to hold a giveaway for the people that linked up. Here are the details if you forgot....

The winners get to choose between a TLAP tshirt (which Jenn and I both have) or a signed copy of the book. And the lucky winners are...
Jenn will be contacting the winners directly in the next few days to get their choice and will forward the information to Dave. Congratulations everyone!!

(I know this post was short, but I am baby free for a few hours and REALLY need to get my work done for next week. I will try to be back to blogging regularly soon enough.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five for Friday- the P Post

Anyone else ecstatic that the weekend is finally here? Week 2 has officially ended... and it was a rough one. R-O-U-G-H rough. Not because of my kids though thankfully. But in honor of being able to semi breathe for a couple days, I am linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday... with lots of P words!

1. Payton and popcorn...
A couple weeks ago we decided to watch Dumbo with Payton and bring out the air mattress. We lounged, watched the movie, and had popcorn. She had a BLAST. So this past Sat we had another movie night. This time it was Curious George (this child is obsessed with monkeys). She had her monkey all ready and was the cutest little girl ever. She MAY be a tad emotional because at one point it looked like George and the elephant were going to get hurt and, I kid you not, she cried! Cried friends! She was that upset about the monkey being hurt. At two!

2. Pirates
Our first bulletin board of the year is hopes and dreams. And since I have a pirate theme, I wanted a pirate board and activity. And so the kids made cute little pirates (admittedly I didn't measure my shape pieces the best and the clothes MAY have been the wrong size) and wrote their hopes for the year and their dreams for the future inside the treasure chest. They turned out so cute. And...teacher fail, I have yet to take a picture of the completed board.

3. Puzzles
For vocabulary this week, students got to work with their groups and match the vocab word to the definition. I was working with small groups at the time so I told the kids in order to prove to me that they did it and I could "grade" it, they had to take a pic on my ipad. They did really well and for the most part all knew all the words this week on their test! Call me excited!

4. Preview
I am working on a raving review about a product that I am not sure how I could live without now. But I am not ready to share it yet bc I want to do it justice.. but here is a preview of the file. We learned about character traits this week and my kids ROCKED their activities. They used this page that you see above (from THIS amazing set from Nicole all know I adore everything she makes right?! I have this one too but we haven't started on that one yet) to LEARN about character traits and then used a page from Amanda at One Extra Degree's foldables to analyze the main character in our story this week (I didn't take a pic of that...and I left them at school). I was so proud at how they were responding!

5. Purchase? I had a really hard time with a P word for this last one...
It is finally time for the big back to school sale at TpT. I will have my entire store on sale for 20% off and by using the codeBTS13 you will get an additional 10% off (which turns out to be 28% because the 10% is off the marked down price..if you aren't a math person, just don't worry yourself over it because 28% is still a great sale!). I am so READY to Purchase. Are you?

P.S. (bc what good would a P post be without a PS??) Don't forget to leave feedback on ALL of your previous purchases. Leaving feedback gets you TpT credit which you can use towards more purchases!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Back to School Blog Hop

Are you ready to go back to school? Already there? If you need a little pick me up you have come to the right place! I and 11 other amazing 3rd and 4th grade bloggers have teamed up to offer you some amazing tips, freebies, and a chance to win a giveaway!
First of all: If you hopped to me from Teresa, WELCOME! I am glad to have you here. Second: If you are like me and like to follow the hop in order, click the image above and it will take you to Christi's blog to start from the beginning.

Now onto my tip. It took me some time to come up with just one thing to share with you. I am no pro when it comes to back to school by any means. In fact, this is the first year since 2010 that I have been AT school the first full week. But back to my tip...

Be OVER organized and OVER planned. The first day is very chaotic. Always. It doesn't matter how many years you have been teaching. By the end of day one, we are all ready to crash. Let's start with being over organized. Have everything ready for the entire week. There won't be time for you to run and make copies, find the materials, or plan a last minute idea. This also goes with being overplanned. The kids will want to know how this class will run. If you leave downtime- they will talk. You do not want this the first week! Keep them busy. Other things I do to make sure NOTHING goes wrong (even though something small will): I have 5 copies of my class list ready to go. One will hang on my door and the other 4 will be used for various things. One will keep track of how kids get home regularly AND how they will be getting home the first day of school. Another will be to hand out to other teachers as needed (support teachers, etc). I also have 3 copies of my dismissal roster.

But the one BIG thing that I do to help stay organized and less chaotic has to do with my school supplies. And here is how I handle the doom that could come from supplies.
1. Put each child's name on an index card and place them around the room. (I have used large paper bags before so students could just place their supplies in there, but some kid bring them in crates, bins, etc. so this works better for me.) Students will place ALL of their supplies by their name before finding their desk.
2. Each group will have the necessities until supplies are sorted and taken care of. Pencils, colored pencils, scissors. All at the groups.
3. I made a copy of the supply list for each child. I go through each child's supplies one student at a time. As I go through the bags, I mark off what each child brings. This way I can send home notes later in the week or the following week remind parents what is still needed.
4. I use class supplies for most things, so I have preplanned WHERE each and every supply will be stored so that when I am ready to put things away, I don't have to stop and think.

I promise you those 4 things save me SO MUCH stress. I know I can't be the only one who has supply stress.

Now onto the freebie. I have decided that my making words activity is going to be free this week. But ONLY for blog hoppers/readers. In order to get the freebie, click either of the images below and it will take you to the product on dropbox. Don't wait because after this week it will be gone!

Want more tips and freebies? Follow the hop to Cynthia by clicking the button below!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Giveaway Day 5- Something for everyone!

Have you been enjoying the giveaways, flash freebies, and deal of the days? If you have missed the flash freebies or DOTDs there is one more today so hurry and go "like" my facebook page! Now onto today's giveaway. The fun is sadly coming to an end. (BUT don't worry, there is more fun coming Sunday...)

Anyways... today's giveaway is kind of a hodge podge with something for everyone. This one has classroom management things, items that apply to multiple grade levels, and even clipart and digital paper. This is like a jackpot I swear!

Today's winner will get 20 AMAZING prizes!
Here are the amazing people that have donated today...

Winner's Choice

Mandy's Tips for Teachers
Winner's Choice


2nd Grade Stuff

The Extra Energetic Educator
Winner's Choice

Peace, Love, & First Grade

I Teach. What's Your Super Power?
Any 2 Items

Winner's Choice up to $8

Holiday or Seasonal Relay template of choice

Miss V's Busy Bees
Winner's Choice

THREE packs of paper from digital paper collection
Wow! I promise the prizes are amazing. Now... this is the LAST day to enter this rafflecopter. Then you can give your fingers a clicking break. Enter as many times as you want. Good Luck! And thanks to EVERYONE for joining in on the fun and thanks to all my AMAZING blogging friends for donating. You are all the BEST ever!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 4 of Giveaway Fun!

Did you see yesterday's winner's choice paradise? If not, make sure you go take a look at it. If you did but teach upper grades, then today is your lucky day! Today's giveaway is another winner's choice giveaway for grades 3+.
The winner of today's giveaway will get 11 products. 10 from the amazing people that donated and a winner's choice from my store!

Today's fantastic bloggers who donated are:

Curls and a Smile

The Teacher Wife
Up to $10 value

Up to $10 value

Fun in the Fours

Polkadots and Pencils


Collaboration Cuties
Don't wait too long. Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win! Of course, the more you do, the better your chances.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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