Sunday, September 14, 2014

Collaborative Conversation Sticks {for MATH}

    Olivia from Liv and Learn asked if I would create Collaborative Conversation Sticks {for Math} and a one of my Instagram followers asked for me to bundle the ELA and Math Collaborative Conversation Sticks- SO, I DID!

    These 20 Sentence Stem sticks will provide your students with sentence stems to help them be active participants in group discussions during Math. These will also hold the students accountable to contributing and foster critical thinking. The response starters and prompts will focus the academic conversation and keep the students on-topic.
I plan on using these next week, our 3rd week of school, to help guide my kiddos to not only think like a scholar but to talk like on too!

Simply Print, Laminate and attach them to a popsicle stick for students to grab while working in groups.

You can grab the Collaborative Conversation Sticks {for Math} here… but if you want a better deal….

 I mentioned above, thanks to an Instagram followers suggestion/request, I have bundled these with my Collaborative Conversation Sticks {for ELA} so if you buy them together you save!

I loved this last Sunday. so, for some pinning fun the first 3 people who pin my Collaborative Conversation Sticks will get these for free!!!! Just leave a comment below saying you pinned it along with your pinterest address (for example mine is pinterest/laylawhenry) so I can verify, and I will email you this set tomorrow! Ready, Set... PIN!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Polka Dots, Chevron, and Owls, Oh My: My 2014-2015 Room Reveal and a Pinteresting Giveaway!

Happy Sunday all!  I survived my first week of school and in all the Back to School madness I realized that I never shared pictures of my new classroom!  So here goes...

Awhile back I mentioned that I was moving to a new school. This picture was taken in June, on my last day of work, at my former school. This is my entire classroom packed inside 53 boxes!

Thankfully, the district moved all of my boxes and furniture to my new school for me. It took my husband and me 2 entire hours to move everything from the MPR, upstairs and into my new classroom.  The first time I saw my new school and classroom I feel in LOVE.  Goodbye portables and Hello AMAZING classroom!
This is the first time in my teaching career that I have ever had matching desks!!! 

Yet another perk of marrying a teacher- we have the same schedule!  My darling husband came in 3 days to help me hang bulletin boards while I unloaded and organized everything. The first thing I wanted to tackle was unpacking and reorganizing my classroom library... I don't even want to tell you how long this took. 

...after.  Check out my Upper Grade Library Labels here.
This is the view when you enter my classroom.

There is A LOT of storage but not a lot of wall space. I will have to get creative as to how I will display student work.  I also have a bulletin board directly outside my classroom, in the hallway that I can and will most definitely use.

I decided to go with a U-Shape desk arrangement.  That way they can collaborate, but they are a little more spread out and I can pull up a chair in the center and work with them as a small group SUPER easily.  I added an extra desk to the center of each table group to store their offices, the Tidy Tub and supply bins.  
Grab this Tidy Tub Owl Freebie here...
This will also hopefully help prevent students from arguing over whose desk the supply bin is on.

I am going to be adding a crate underneath it which will have their work portfolios in hanging folders so we can file away their work easily.

The kids LOVED their Home Depot book aprons.  

This is a view from the back of my classroom looking forward.  This is the first time I have had a projector that is mounted to the ceiling... I am stoked about that because now I wont have that hot fan blowing on me all day.  

This is the left side of my classroom.  Look at those AMAZING windows. I just love all of that natural light.  It makes taking pictures a little tricky :)
notice my amazing Mac desktops- 4 here and a few more on the other side... #luckyteacher
A close up...
Here is where I store some of my Whole Class Journals and centers. I am still organizing and sorting them.  I also have a few that I need to print and laminate.  Oh the life of a teacher!

Here is a math bulletin board in between both windows that go along with my Math Problem of the Week set.  I will showcasing their hard work and perseverance of that on this board.

Here is the other side of my classroom where I have 2 MORE Mac desktops and a lap top too!
All of these computers will take my centers to a new level!

Here is the front of my room... I purchased plastic pocket dividers, cut off the label tab and mounted them on the wall in the dead space underneath the Smartboard/White board.  They are labeled with student numbers and this is where they will turn in their center work.  It is a great way to manage who has or has not turned in their work as well as a great place to put absent work!!!

Here's a peek at a few of my bulletin boards...

I blogged last week about my Brag Tags here... This is where the students will hand their tags when they aren't wearing them. On Wednesday, When I told them about Brag Tags and they were SO excited... see, they aren't just for primary kiddos! Every child loves and deserves affirmation!
Grab these Brag Tags for Big Kids here...
My most popular bulletin board over the past several years is my interactive Synonym Wall. Students can come up and find a more interesting word while working on their writing. Plus, they can add to it as the year moves along.

Grab this bulletin board here... 
This is my Data Wall which will track the student's progress for AR, Math Facts and ST Math.  For AR, I use the treehouse and the students climb up into new rooms as they acquire more AR points.  It's a great visual representation, that motivates them and helps them self monitor and set personal reading goals.  They also earn Brag Tags each time they earn 10 AR points or 10% in Jiji. Motivation!
Grab this adorable Chalkboard bunting here...
I have a TON of white boards in my classroom.  I turned one of them into a GIANT wall calendar where we can track birthdays, assignments, due dates, holidays etc. Thank you Little Lovely Leaders for this set!

I know I have OVERLOADED you all with photos, but I love taking a peek into people's classrooms because it gives me new ideas, it inspires me and it reminds me that I am not the only teacher that LOVES what they do.

For some pinning fun on this Sunday, how about a little giveaway!?!  The first 3 people who pin a picture from my Back to School 2014-2015 Reveal-- can choose any product that is under $5.00 from my TpT store and I will email it to you for free!!!! Just leave a comment below saying you did it along with your pinterest address (for example mine is pinterest/laylawhenry) so I can verify, let me know which product you would like and I will email it to you tonight! Ready, Set... PIN!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Brag Tags for Big Kids

This summer I was reflecting on my teaching practices and I set some professional goals.  One of them was to highlight the little things that my students do well on.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in everything that occurs in a school day, that I want to make sure to positively reinforce my kiddos frequently. So, I searched Pinterest and I found a lot of amazing Brag Tags on there. Many seemed geared towards the primary grades so I decided to make my own Brag Tags but for Big Kids!!!

If you don't know what Brag Tags are...
Brag Tags are like little, Dog Tag shaped trophies that celebrate student accomplishments! 

They positively reinforce students in a tangible and powerful way. Brag Tags will spice up your classroom behavior management system by motivating your students to work hard towards their behavior and academic goals. They are so simple to incorporate into any behavior management system. I found 100 ball necklaces on Amazon Prime for $25.

Each student will get a necklace with a tag on it that has their name.  They can wear the necklace at school or leave it on our Brag Tag Bulletin Board.

As they meet their academic and behavior goals or milestones they will earn tags to add to their necklace. I just know that my students will love collecting them all year long because kids love affirmation, positive attention and encouragement. 

Brag Tags Included in this Set:
These are specific to my classroom, so if there is a Brag Tag that you'd like to me make for you, I can customize tags for you!

Simply print, laminate and cut… 

My son, Eli helped me by taking a few of the Brag Tags hostage.


I am excited to try this out with my new set of kiddos that I will meet TOMORROW!!!! AHH!  
As a Back to School treat, these are on sale now for the 1st week of school at my TpT store….

AND one lucky winner will get this pack for free.  You have to be a follower of my Instagram account (Fancyfreein4th) to get this because I posted a video this weekend showing off my new room.  So check out my Instagram, and leave the answer here along with your email and I will send these Brag Tags for Big Kids your way!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Currently SEPTEMBER!

Well folks, it is here… The end of sweet summer.  September marks the Back to School season and I am a mixed bag of emotions.  I am linking up with the ever clever Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade to share my September Currently….

Listening:  To beautiful silence…. and crickets.  The babies are asleep, the husband is hanging out with a college friend and I am basking in sweet silence- despite the crickets!!!  I-L-O-V-E-I-T…. now, I love, Love, LOVE the crazy noises all day long but a moment of calm serenity is just down right decadent!

Loving: I posted a few months ago about being displaced, going through the application/interview process yet again and graciously being offered a job at  school whose reputation is remarkable.  The past few weeks I have been able to move in and set up shop (classroom reveal coming soon- check out my instagram for a sneak peek!).  My classroom is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.  We had some professional development this week and I have fallen in love with my new school.  The teachers are remarkable, the vision is clear and there is amazing leadership all around.  I feel sad to leave my past school but also that I am in the right place! #itwasmeanttobe

Thinking: Any other working mommies feel my pain!?!  I Love teaching but I LOVE my babies… Eli is starting to talk so much more and Penelope is my little clone. She is so witty, remarkable and loving. I cried on my way to inservice this week thinking about them going back to their babysitting routine and my daughter starts Preschool on Thursday! It's just hard, but I am lucky to have such a supportive community of friends and family that take the best possible care of my kiddos while I am doing my best in my classroom.  

Wanting:  So every teacher has had their best year of teaching. Whether it be because they have honed in on their teacher skills or that they had an amazing class.  It is easy for any teacher to remember a certain year that stands out above all and for me my 1st year of teaching was the best year ever.  I had, hands down, the BEST class of my career my first year of teaching.  I can remember all 25, 5th graders names and faces.  I remember it all.  I was not the best teacher that year, I was brand, spanking new… but those 25 kiddos were my world that year.  As it just so happens, this year is the year when those 25, 5th graders will be graduating from high school!!!! I have kept in touch with 2 of them and I cannot wait to sit proudly in the back at their graduation. So to honor my first class, I want to make this year THE BEST YEAR yet!  
Needing: Time…. I still don't feel ready for our 1st day of school (Tuesday).  I went in for 4 hours yesterday…. yes on a Saturday…. to work. I  have 2 products to post and a few summer cleaning goals to do still… and I have one day left of summer…  Dear Lord, let me feel all 24 hours of the day tomorrow!

3 Trips: Greece… no explanation needed.  Seattle… our close friends moved to Seattle just a few weeks ago and I have heard AMAZING things about the restaurants there, so I'd love to go.  AND Italy… Who wouldn't want fresh pasta, legit pizza or to hunt for truffles?

Well, thanks for checking out my Currently!!!  I can't wait to see what destinations you have all chosen for you 3 trips.

Until next time….

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Collaborative Conversation Sticks {for ELA}

Do you want your students to have deeper, and more meaningful conversations? I know that I DO!!! Whether you have English Language Learners OR timid students, Collaborative Conversation Sticks are a great idea. I created this product to help my students master the CCSS for both Speaking & Listening which state that students need to be able to: “engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade-level topics and texts, building on other’s ideas and expressing their own clearly.”

These 30 Sentence Stem sticks will provide your students, and mine, support to engage in academic conversations.  If you haven't used "sentence stems" before then they will help your student become Active Participants in group discussions during Language Arts. They will also hold the students accountable to contributing and foster critical thinking. The response starters and prompts will focus the academic conversation and keep the students on-topic.

Simply Print, Laminate and attach these 30 sentence stems to a popsicle stick so your students can grab them while working in groups.

ANNNNNNNDDD as a Back to School Twist!!!! I will give this set away to one of my FANTASTIC Followers who can guess my favorite clothing pattern to wear!…. Ready friends, guess and get this fantastic set!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chalkboard Bulletin Board Bunting Signs

I don’t know about you... but this year I decided that I was tired of using the precut letters from the teacher supply store to label my cute bulletin boards. ESPECIALLY after seeing so many cute bulletin board letters from my teacher blogger friends on instagram. So, late last night (sorry Honey!) I decided to create my own Chalkboard Bulletin Board Bunting signs to add some flair to my bulletin boards! 

I chose chalkboard because let’s be honest, everything goes with chalkboard cuteness, no matter what your classroom theme or bulletin board may be! They go with every color scheme, season and subject! They are just so classy!

Today was my 3rd day in my brand new classroom so I got to put these babies up:
My Data Wall which showcases their progress for AR and ST Math-Jiji!

Simply print, laminate, string together and cut! 

I made 24 signs but I also included a lower case and upper case alphabet so you can create your own signs for whatever you may need to fancy up in your classroom! The pre made signs are:

Go snag this chalkboard bunting now during the one day boost sale going on right now… and for the next 3 hours and 24 minutes at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Who's Ready? Supply Picture Cards

So for some Sunday afternoon blogging!!!!

I just couldn't wait to share my newest classroom management product:Who's Ready? Supply Picture Cards

These Supply Picture Cards will help organize your students and keep them on task! You will avoid any confusion and the dreaded UNPREPARED LEARNER!

Simply, print these cards, laminate, and attach a magnetic backing. After you give the class a task, put up these picture icons up on your whiteboard so that your students visually SEE and KNOW exactly what they NEED in order to do the task.
Implementing this is perfect for centers, ELLs or just the daily grind!

The picture icon cards included in this set are:

Want to know a secret??? Shh…. These cards can be used as labels in your classroom as well! Don't you love duel purpose products!

Grab this supply picture set here and eliminate wasted time and confusion in your classroom!