Friday, July 31, 2015

Back To School SALE!

Well, that was a quick turn around! Just as I am wrapping up my sale for 500+ Feedback on TpT (it ENDS tonight!) we are hosting another sale just in time for back to school--lucky you! lucky me! lucky we! The SALE is AUGUST 3-4 so mark your calendars, set reminders and tell your friends! Be sure to go through the site and think in advance of things that you need! That's what I am going to be doing this weekend--but don't tell the mister! Shhh!

 That awesome game--get it! Those posters that you have wanted and NEEDED for forever? Yup, you got it, BUY em'. Those super cute fonts? Get them ALL! Those borders for the cutest worksheets? Get it. Treat yo' self (it's my motto in life and I feel that it applies to my friends too!). You don't do it enough! Trust me! I have slight font addiction, paper addiction, and anything that I want for my students...well, I end up getting it all. So you are in good company.

It's the most wonderful time of the year...for teacherspayteachers that is, and it doesn't happen that often. So stock up, grab some goodies, and then empty that wish list...Because YOU ARE WORTH IT. Over and out (because I'm wish-listing like crazy right now and basking in all the teacherspayteachers goodness)! What's on your wish list?--tell me please!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Under Construction! (Math Wall!)

Do teachers ever stop? Ha! No they don't. At the beginning of summer I'm thinking about how much I miss my kiddos and what a fantastic year we had. Don't get me wrong, I'm also relaxing, hanging out in my yoga pants, and taking mental breaks from school. But as summer winds down I get so excited for the next year! It's so good to recharge, reflect, gain perspective, and prep new ideas for a whole new group of students! We just can't quit can we?!? And August is right around the corner!

One thing I have been working on and preparing in my math is my Math Wall for 6th Grader's. I have all of my math vocabulary terms color-coded and coordinating with my "I Can" Statements and Concept Cards (these give students a snapshot of the day). I'm seriously soooo excited about this. Sometimes I feel before I teach a unit a print up all of these things but this year they actually look nice and cohesive. PLUS I love the colors & I created editable templates. I am organizing these by standards in my files and on my word wall as well. This new addition is going to be such a great tool throughout the year! I can hardly wait!

I just posted these up in my teacherspayteachers shop (you can check everything out here)! I copy these off for my students binders and we use these as math terms are presented. We build our own reference pages and pack these babies with definitions, examples of how to solve problems, what formulas mean, and so much more. It's a great resource that my students work on themselves--so the value is increased and they actually use them. These reference pages are free so grab yourself a set to use with your kiddos!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pencil! Pencil! Read all about it!

Seriously summer has flown by! Is it just me? I am sure I haven't had enough sno-cones, pools days, beach days, sleeping-in days! I'll have to get started as soon as possible. With the new school year around the corner I'm constantly making trips to the Dollar Tree, Target (Dollar Spot), and purchasing things on Amazon to prep for the new year. My husband dreads when I do dollar store runs but when he considers what a Target run would amount too--he prefers I head to the dollar store to get most of my school necessities (and wants) purchased.

One thing that I am sure to stock up on year round are mechanical pencils. If I find any mechanical pencils on clearance I will snatch them up but it's so rare. I've found The Dollar Tree has pencils that my students have LOVED throughout the years. Here they are:
Now, here's why I stock up on mechanical pencils. I can't stand pencil sharpeners. After years, I have finally found one that I love and that my students haven't figured out how to jam or break yet. I think part of the reason the pencil sharpener has survived so long is that I give out mechanical pencils as prizes, thank you's, whoo-hoo surprises and more! 

When students are doing great things I hand out mechanical pencils! And guess what?! It works! Once one students gets a super cool pencil the other one's change their behavior or go the extra mile on their assignments too. It's simple and cheap enough that I don't mind it at all and it seriously saves my sanity and is a great incentive for my students. I simply store them in a container (it was a jar but then my collection needed to grow!) and in a spot that I can easily pass them out! I feel like it's a great deal and a perfect pencil solution!

Over and Out!

Monday, July 27, 2015

500 Y'all!

I'm a Texas girl through and through. My husband says I don't really have an accent unless I'm with my family, really excited, or in a sassy mood (ha!). But trust me, it's in there! Right now we are in FLO-RIDA for his medical school but I still dream of living in Texas someday. It's just home to me! We've moved all over the place and we've loved every where we have lived and are actually packing up once again the upcoming week! But before we do that...

I want to celebrate by having a sale in my teacherspayteachers shop. I recently hit a few milestones and wanted to say "THANK YOU!" by throwing a little sale. This teacherspayteachers journey has been oh so wonderful and I'm so grateful for the connections I've made with so many awesome educators and teacher bloggers! The support and kindness is immeasureable and I'm so glad that I get to share my ideas with phenomenal teachers. It's fun. It's wonderful. And it's only going to get better! Be sure to stop by my store and check things out or my instagram to say hooray! Have a great week y'all!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Word Wall Must Haves

I LOVE word walls! Love 'em more than anything. It's such a powerful teaching tool and when I first started teaching 6th grade I felt like the were totally TABOO (like--they were ONLY for younger grades and babyish). My first year that I taught I had zero-zilch-nada word walls and it really cramped my teaching style and I felt like my students were missing out on a great learning resource. My second year of teaching I did it--I made a word wall as visually awesome and really talked it up.  I started the first month of school with science word wall and soon into the school I made a math word wall and then I created a Parts of Speech Word Wall that incorporated our spelling and vocabulary terms. It all evolved and come together so perfectly. And the best part--my students use them.

They are so well used and helped in so many areas--specifically FLUENCY. My students no longer raise a furrowed eyebrows (please tell me you know that face:) when I use the world "quantity" in math...and that was a major step of progress. Not only do I use the term all of the time but they also see it and write it. In science the terms from unit to unit are not brushed aside and it makes for perfect review. And my Parts of Speech Word Wall. Oh how it makes a difference. Books are scoured to find their spelling words in the text so they could enter their name, word, and books into a drawing for a prize after our spelling tests on Fridays. See? I love my word walls and most important, my students utilize them.

Here are some tips and tricks for building your very own word wall and implementing it into your classroom.

1. Every students must be able to see it.
In order for students to be able to use the word wall they have to be able to see it. Now, word walls can take up a considerable amount of space...but think outside of the box. I turned by cabinets into my spelling and vocabulary word wall and refreshed it at the beginning of each term. My students use it to refer to key words and who doesn't love finding cool new words in books?

2. Organize your words.
Whether alphabetically or categorically keep things organized. Color coding, font matching, paper backing words so they all coordinate does make a difference. My science word wall is categorized by subject so all of the space terms are together, microorganisms have a section, heat, light, and sound are all put together as well. So not only can your students see it but they can easily find the words they are looking for because of the organization.  

3. Use it or lose it.

It is so important to use your word wall during instruction or else students won't use it and then the teaching power of word walls is lost. When students ask questions, refer them to the word wall. MODEL (model, model, model) how you expect them to use it. Pretend you can't remember how to spell something and use the word wall. Make a spelling error and see if your students notice and direct you to the word wall. Make it relevant, make it useful, and make your word wall important (don't let it lose it's teaching power!). 

4. Let your students build the word wall.

I love the idea in students taking part in the word wall. My word wall terms are pre-made but I have my students organize them and maintain the word walls. I read on some awesome blog (I can't find it) that the teacher lets students fill out cards and put them on the word wall and I love that! Once they have a sense of ownership that ups the ante on how they use it.

Also Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your word wall. It's okay to have a lot of blank space. I can guarantee that your word wall will be built a lot faster than Rome. It takes time and work but at the end of the year it is such a visual representation of everything that you have learned! Huzzah! 

5. Don't be afraid to start mid year!

If you are reading this and it's not the beginning of the year don't be afraid to implement your word wall. It takes time to set up the procedures and expectations of a word wall--but it takes time at the beginning of the year too. I was in the same boat and it ended up being such a great addition to my classroom. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

I got a DOT COM Y'all!

Moving on up a little bit in the world! That's what you call getting your own .com! I've had the, gmail, and stuffs for a while (as in like 3 years) and decided since I loved the name so much to just go ahead and purchase the domain. It was fun and I feel a little bit more grown up now...even though I had Corn POPS for breakfast and totally took a step in the opposite direction of being a grown up. Not to cause any confusion but here is a road map for where to find me on other social media and internet outlets:

And if you find me on all social media outlets grab a diet coke and do the macarena because that my friend, is quite the feat! I hope to see you all around. Stop by my instagram and say hi and follow along. It's one of my favorite places! AND one last thing, at the top of this page and on the right are my social media buttons and they should take you right where you need to go.

I'm off to the grocery store--for more adult-ish and mature-ish food. Wish me luck!

Over and Out!

Friday, July 17, 2015

You've Got Mail!

Tap. Tap. Tap. Is this thing still on? This is just life right now but I am getting into the swing of things and wanted to drop in and say HELLO again. With the school year around the corner we are all in full swing lamination mode, prepping, and getting back into our old classrooms. The 4th of July is a signal that school is slowly but surely coming toward us. It's exciting! I love fresh starts!

Not only am I checking in to see if anyone reads this blog (hi mom! hi best friends!) but also to ask a question. Many of us send emails or newsletters out--it's a great way to keep parents informed but sometimes I feel that as the school year goes on those emails don't get read at all. So what do you do to make sure the parents are actually reading the emails and newsletters? Have you had that "Bueller" moments where it's like...did you get my email?

Now, I completely understand that parents have busy lives and the email quickly gets archived or is ignored because of so much going on in life. Some of my parents have multiple kids and can't keep up with the emails--their inboxes are inundated. I try to really send information packed emails and communicate that with parents at the beginning of the year. I'm all about quick and efficient emails but I don't want to email so often that parents dismiss the content completely because they might miss something important.

One trick I have learned is within the contents of the email I write to parents to place a star, or smiley face, or write down a random fact about themselves inside their child's planner (another one of our communication tools) for some simple reward for their child. I also tell my students that their parents need to read their email--because after all, aren't persistent 11 year olds a really good shot at making sure something gets done? YES. They are! They never let me forget the extra two minutes of recess I owe them. Every minute counts. Back to the reward...The rewards range from a sweet treat to a homework pass to whatever I fancy--but there is a reward of some kind. And it works! I love the results that I get and I genuinely feel that my parents are in the loop--which is always a good thing--and they know that the lines of communication are open!

Here's an example of one of my emails:
(please forgive any and all typos and grammatical errors--I am so far from perfect and need all the help I can get ha!)

So what is it that you do? I have a back and forth planner that parents initial with homework assignments and behavior records. Do you email? Does anyone use google forms? I am so curious and want to hear what my friends are doing! Is paper the way to go? Emails? Super techy and teachy people that use fancy apps, is there anything out there? Let me know!


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