Sunday, August 24, 2014

Science Rocks!

I freaking love science!  I love learning about it, and I especially love teaching it.  My students' reactions are priceless when they complete an experiment and finally get it!

I also love reading aloud picture books to my kiddos.  I love watching their faces as I give the characters a voice. I love hearing them laugh at the funny part.  I love when they sigh or groan or squeal...anything that tells me they are just LOVING this story!

One of my teammates showed me the picture book On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, and it totally inspired me to create a bundle of activities based on the nature of science.  Not only is there a mini-lesson based on the book, but there are WAY CUTE scientific processes posters and vocabulary cards, interactive materials for scientific processes and the scientific method, and an assessment on the scientific method (with an answer key, of course!).

I knocked this one out in a week because I am so SUPER excited to teach it next week!  I definitely wanted to offer it up on the blog as a freebie before the first day of school.  I hope you enjoy it and share it with colleagues and friends!

Happy experimenting!!!!

The Nature of Science Bundle***

***The freebie link has expired, but you can still get your copy from my TPT store!  Happy teaching!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

That Time of Year

I am so tired, I could swear my eyelids are made of sandpaper.  It's Work Week, and I am frantically trying to get my classroom ready for the first day of school - posters hung, plans written, copies made, supplies organized...  I know you can all relate!  My children don't seem to realize that Mommy is no longer on vacation.  They still want to stay up late watching movies, and sleep in.  Not to mention that despite my exhaustion, my body isn't ready to call it quits until after ten o'clock.  I've confused it with 5:30 a.m. alarms and 3 regularly-scheduled meals a day.  It's that time of year!

I've had today's creation on my mind for the last couple of weeks.  Lazing around in bed after 8 am (as the back-to-school countdown begins) will do that!  I wanted a go-to bundle of miniature anchor charts to use in my students' folders and interactive notebooks.  I love when my students have valuable resources at their fingertips - it makes my life so much easier!  I am also the collaborative teacher for my grade level, so I have several students whose IEP requires these resources to be on hand at all times. 

I created this bundle with every chart I could think of (after hours of working in my classroom, so forgive me if I've left out a few!).  I plan on placing some in interactive math folders for all-year use, and others I will shrink and glue into interactive notebooks during that unit of study.  I will be updating the file when I realize I've forgotten something (which you can bet your STAAR scores will happen more than once)!  So follow me on the blog and on TPT to get notification updates!  Enjoy!!!

Math Mini-Anchor Charts***

***The freebie link has expired, but you can still get a copy in my TPT store!  Happy teaching!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Didn't I Already Answer That?

"Can we use markers on this?"  That has to be the #1 question that my kids ask, no matter the grade level.  What's the deal with markers, anyway?  I, personally, love crayons!  Markers smear and get on my hands and ink from the paper always bleeds in with the markers, ruining the color.  Okay, so maybe I'm a little OCD.  And perhaps I've done a lot of thinking about this.  But when you get asked that question as many times as we teachers do, you tend to obsess over it.

Not to mention all the other questions we get asked on a day-to-day basis. "Is this for a grade?"  "Can we work on the floor?"  "Where do I put it when I'm finished?"  "Do I take this home?"  "Can I work with a partner?" 

Wait.  Didn't I already answer that when I was giving the directions?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  So I guess I must be just a tad bit crazy (what teacher isn't???) because it took inspiration from a friend to get me thinking about my latest creation.  Why not have signs on the board that answer those never-ending questions?  I have signs everywhere else, and there is just a tiny bit of space on the left side of my white board. 

These signs answer those never-ending questions!  Just post them and make multiple copies of the stars that are included in the bundle.  Velcro the stars and a corner of the posters, and place the stars on the posters that answer those questions about the given assignment!  Voila!  No more questions!  And they go great with the last freebie I posted - classroom posters for the fast finishers in your room.

What? Where? Who? - Classroom Posters for those Never-Ending Questions***

***The link has expired!  Please visit my TPT store by clicking on the link in the sidebar to get your copy!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Can I Do Now?

"What can I do now, Ms. S.?"  It never fails.  Doesn't matter how many enrichment activities, ELAR stations, math games, or task cards that I have set up all around my room, it's a daily question.

We all have them - those "Fast Finishers" who complete an assignment before you've even finished passing them out.  Yes, of course, you have a TON of things that your kiddos can do when they are finished (starting with that jam-packed unfinished work folder!!!).  Problem is, they can never seem to remember all the wonderful things that you've spent HOURS and HOURS preparing just to avoid that question!

I can't complain too much because I, too,  have the memory of a fly.  I am a very visual person, so I can't rely on my memory or my ears to get me through the day.  I LOVE signs and posters, and I ABHOR empty walls, which is why it's difficult to find an inch of bare wall space in my classroom!  I created these cute little posters (with a little inspiration from my equally-OCD best friend and coworker) as a visual reminder of all the things my kiddos can do when that assignment is safely turned in!

Enjoy the download!  And if you're anything like me, enjoy the next couple of weeks of putting your classroom back together without any AC!!!

What Can I Do Now? - Classroom Posters for the Fast Finisher***

PS - Be on the lookout in the next couple of days for a set of posters to answer more of those everyday questions - "Can we use markers?",  Where do I put it when I'm done?",  "Can we work with a partner?", and more!!!

***The link has expired!  Please visit my TPT store by clicking on the link in the sidebar to purchase your copy!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wiggly Eyes and Craft Sticks and Cardstock...Oh My!

One of my favorite things about Back-to-School are the supplies!  I love stocking up on brand-new boxes of crayons, fresh markers, stacks of notebooks and folders, glue...and pencils, pencils, pencils!!!  I fill my cabinets with extra supplies because there will always be a student who doesn't have something he needs, or runs out of pencils by October.  I swear, sometimes I think they eat them when my back is turned!

What about the fun stuff, though?  The glitter glue and sequins and pipe cleaners and feathers that we use throughout the year?  Half of my classroom closet is dedicated to art supplies because I LOVE integrating hands-on crafts whenever I can.  My kiddos love it, too!  The problem is, I always seem to forget about the paper plates or colorful pom poms until the day before I need them, and then I find myself scrambling to get to the Dollar Store/Walmart/Hobby Lobby during 5:00 traffic with three kids in tow (soooooooooooooo not fun!).  I used to have some simple cards that I taped on my door with donation requests, but simplicity doesn't suit me, so I created these cute cards, instead!  I'm going to place them outside my classroom door on the sign-in table at Meet the Teacher.

I also made up a cute little rhyming poster to tape on the wall, and some thank you cards so I don't forget to be show my gratitude in the hustle and bustle of back-to-school activities.  Please download and share with colleagues, friends, family, etc.!  Hope you enjoy them!

Back-to-School Donation Bundle***

***The link has expired!  Please check my TPT store to purchase a copy!!!