Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teachers Are Heroes Sale!

I am a little late to the game, but TPT is having a sale - for teachers! (Yay!) 

Visit my store here and take part in this sale! Help me reach 100 followers on my TPT store page and I will be giving one of my products away for FREE!

I will also be hosting another sale coming up shortly - more details to follow! Happy shopping!

Monday, February 9, 2015

But First…Let Me Take a Selfie

I'm taking time away from my classroom these next two days, as I am in San Diego for an iPad Summit for educators.

I drove down this afternoon with a colleague and checked into my hotel - the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp District. I scored a suite (SWEET) upgrade, as they didn't have anymore of the studios that I had booked - so my trip has started off pretty well.

I think I'm going to go out to dinner with my colleague later. Our conference starts bright and early tomorrow but the boyfriend is coming down for the day/night, so I have something to look forward to after a long day of breakout sessions tomorrow.

Lots of learning to be done over the next couple of days - so excited!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Library is Open for Business

I have spent the majority of the first trimester of this school year attempting to organize our classroom library - if you could even call it that.

The books were haphazardly strewn across the shelves of an old bookcase that was falling apart by the minute. There was no organization to the books. Most of the books had been items I had found when I took over the classroom back in August 2013 - most were neglected, falling apart, or outdated.

I wondered if I would ever get the "mess" that was my library under control.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and "invest" in some (expensive) book boxes for my classroom. Once they arrived, the real work began.

The classroom "library" with newly purchased book boxes
Any free time my classroom staff and I had was devoted to leveling my classroom library. We used a couple of different apps to help do this - Level It, Scholastic's Book Wizard, and Lit Leveler. If the book wasn't in one of the apps, we would go to the next and so on.

The trouble came when the book wasn't in any of three apps - which happened quite often, especially with older books. We decided to get the AR book level (see here) and then convert the AR level to the Fountas and Pinnell system that we wanted to use in the classroom.

Once the hard part was over, the rest came easily. We color-coded the books and organized the boxes in a storage cubicle that I had bought at Big Lots. I decided that I would only start with levels A-R - one, because I didn't have the space in the 3x3 cubicle and two, because I highly doubt any of my students will be reading past the R level.

And finally the day came when all our books were labeled (books that we couldn't label were sent next door to our library) and our library was open for business!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Black History Month

February is also Black History Month (BHM) and while my class studies MLK Jr. during January, we also revisit him when we talk about influential African Americans during BHM.

We've done several crafts over the last week and my students have enjoyed learning about his life and the change he encouraged regarding black rights.

Our first craft was a MLK Jr. portrait. Students cut and glue the pieces to create their own MLKs. I typed up a quick little blurb about him and they glued it to their portraits.

It's always great to see the students exercise creative license when it comes to arts and crafts. No two projects are ever the same.

The second craft we did was a quick paint and paste. As a 2nd/3rd grade classroom, we don't do a lot of tempura painting, but the kids enjoyed this one.

And no unit of study is ever complete without a thinking map! I created a MLK Jr. tree map last year that my students enjoyed (see the product here) and so I whipped that back out. We read three different books about MLK Jr. and I loved that my students were using all three as a basis for our completion of this map.