Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beating The Bulletin Board Blues!

I'm linking up with another Bright Ideas Blog Hop to bring you some time saving
 tips to help you beat those back to school bulletin board blues! 

When setting up my classroom I like to hang my boards first, before moving any 
of the furniture. Use the empty floor space to lay out your paper or fabric to help 
visualize where you want to place your boards on the wall.  Keep in mind the other
 things you'll be adding around the boards such as pocket charts and posters. 
You don't want to have to move them once they're up!

Putting up bulletin boards at the beginning of the year can be a real workout!  
Not to mention a little risky as you teeter precariously on any available 
surface so you can hang that top trim! The most time consuming part for me 
is climbing up and down a zillion times to see if they're straight.
This little tip has saved me a TON of time!

This year as I was using my handy dandy level necklace my teammate 
wandered in and said, "I was hanging pictures this weekend and
 I discovered I could put a level on my phone." I never even thought of that!

Most teachers know that fabric is a great alternative
to butcher paper.  It doesn't fade and is super easy
to store. I get most of mine at Wal-Mart or on 
clearance at Hobby Lobby or my local fabric store.

Think ahead about holidays, themes and content 
you'll be displaying in your hallway.   
Layer your fabric or paper to save time when changing them out. 
 Simply remove the top layer and replace the border. 

At the end of the year, store all of the parts and pieces for boards 
you know you'll use again together.  Make yourself a little board-in-a-bag 
so it's all there and ready to go.  I've even taken a quick picture a time or two to
 remind myself  how I had it set up.

 Often times our custodians aren't finished cleaning when we report back.  
We sometimes have to wait for the carpets to be cleaned before we can 
set up furniture.  Keep your bulletin board supplies in an easy to reach place 
so you can use that time to get started on your walls. When stuffing things into 
cupboards at the end of the year I always pack my bulletin boards LAST 
so I can get to them FIRST!

I hope you've enjoyed these tips and found an idea or two you can use!

 You can see  LOADS of ideas for decorating your boards 

 I'd love to have you join me on Facebook, and Instagram too! 
 Be sure to scroll through the links below for more Bright Ideas 
from 150 other teacher/bloggers!

Happy Back-To-School teacher friends!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You're Finally Here! {Our First Week Back}

I've been waiting and waiting, printing and prepping, plotting and planning for my brand new class.  I've looked so forward to meeting them, putting faces to their names and welcoming them to second grade. The pencils are sharpened, their desks are arranged, our room is all ready but where are they? What's taking them so long?

Meet the teacher night finally arrived.  My shiny new second graders 
approached their new classroom to this...

Then something happened that has never happened before. 
Every.single.child asked me about that book.  No one was shy, 
no one was nervous, no wanted to know where their desk was.  
But everyone, with their bright little eyes opened wide, asked me,
 "When can we read the book?"  

And finally, after so much waiting, it was our first day! 
They're here!  They're here! They're finally here!

And we read our book.  The very first thing before anything else.
And then I asked....."What took you so long?"

I know our little bunny friend was bored, but not me.  I was busy!

As a little getting to know you activity after reading the book, all my 
new friends turned to a neighbor and explained what took them 
so long to get to my class.  The giggles were priceless!
I have to admit, my class had some pretty good reasons for keeping me waiting!

We made these little booklets so they could explain.
While they were working I took some first day photos.

Later that day we played "The Bored Game" so my new friends could 
connect, compare stories and find things they had in common. Hilarious!

On Wednesday, my kiddos chose their favorite reason from their 
booklets and wrote it in a speech balloon for our bulletin board.

Then to get to know them a little better we all did this....
 On Thursday, we talked about idioms and found lots of them in our book.  

We worked in groups and roamed the room to figure out the 
answers to some of these questions!

Our new friend the book character bunny talks about
how unfair it is that his readers keep him waiting. As unfair as having 
to go to bed when you're not tired!
So to introduce our journal writing routine and to take a baseline 
writing sample I gave them this prompt.

On Friday, I finished our bulletin board at lunch .......

and sent everybody home with a first day keepsake card!

If you're not completely in love with this book yet, 
you will be after you watch this{so stinkin' cute}video clip!
(Thank you for sharing it with me Jennifer Ayers!) 

If you'd like to do all of this with YOUR class you CAN!
I've bundled all of our fun, into a little unit you can see {HERE}
I've included LOTS more not pictured in this post,
plus all the chart and bulletin board parts and templates you'll need!

Just click {HERE} or on the picture to head right to it!

Well, I already love my new class!  How was your first week back?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back To School Sale!

It's back-to-school sale time!
Everything in my store will be 20% off Monday and Tuesday
August 4-5. Save an additional 10% with the PROMO Code: BTS14

Here's a peek at some of my most popular back-to-school resources!

Goal and accomplishment writing craft

Check out my brand new back to school unit, 

Here's how you can save even more!
Be sure to go back and leave feedback on all of your previous
 purchases to earn rewards points.
Reward Points +  PROMO Code BTS14 = BIG SAVINGS!

Hop on over to Bog Hoppin' to check out many more stores on sale!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Louder, Lili: A Little Gem Of A Back-To-School Book!

As I said in my previous post, I'm always on the lookout for
new books (or ones I haven't yet discovered!).
 Especially those I can use at the beginning of the year.
(I'm still waiting for Natasha Wing to write 
The Night Before Second Grade ha!). 

Last year I discovered this precious little gem of a book called
  Louder, Lili by Gennifer Choldenko. It is so perfect for those back-to-school 
discussions on friendship, kindness, and noticing how what we say 
and do makes others feel. Lili is so shy and soft spoken that her voice 
is never heard until one day she finds the courage to speak up to help a friend.

Available on Amazon

  My class really connected with this character last year and we had 
some great discussions about respect, standing up for what is right,
being a good friend, and finding your own voice.  

I found this great little book trailer on YouTube
made as a class project to give you an idea of
what it's all about.

This book lends itself to so many different teaching points and this summer 
I put together a book companion unit with all of the things we did with it plus 
LOTS of things I plan to do this year.  

I thought I would do something a bit different this time.  We all have such 
varying teaching styles, student abilities, and let's face it district mandates, 
that I wanted to create a unit that was extremely flexible with several formats 
that could be used in multiple ways.  Whole or small group, in literacy 
centers, or included in interactive notebooks. I've included work
with story vocabulary as well as a comprehension and vocabulary 
assessment with answer keys.  Each color activity also comes in a
blackline version and I've added printables not pictured here for story mapping,
working with synonyms, abc order, and a fun little "Hamster Hop"
to get your kids moving while reviewing or practicing parts of speech.

Many of the activities can also be compiled into a booklet 
and used as an assessment or an open house display.

I try to work smarter, not harder so I'll be using some of these over 
the first few weeks of school to introduce how we use our supplies, begin to 
establish our routines and procedures for working whole group and in our 
literacy centers, as a back to school writing baseline to keep in student portfolios, 
and  as skills review from last year. 

Week three we begin to focus on characters.  Their traits, relationships with 
other characters, how they respond to events in the story, and
how they change because of these events. We also begin
to really work with our kids on providing evidence and explanations for
 their thoughts and answers.

Feeling "chart challenged"?  No worries! I've included 
all the chart parts you need plus a graphic organizer for students to use.

I've even included  retelling and complete sentences crafts to practice 
or review these important skills. I'll be using the retelling craft
to focus on important details in the beginning middle and end of the story 
with special attention paid to writing complete sentences and using punctuation.
I know I won't have time to do this in one fell swoop so I'll 
save the hamster craft for some Friday afternoon fun then add
it to our writing.

Here's a little peek at the whole shebang...

                                      Psst...Be sure to add this to your cart so you're ready 
for big Back to School Sale coming soon on TPT!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You're Finally Here! {Book Talk Tuesday}

I've been searching high and low for quite some time now 
for something a little different in the back-to-school book department 
and I FINALLY found it!
I literally got giddy in the bookstore over all of the things 
you can do with this book!

Available on Amazon

Your're Finally Here! is written by Melanie Watt, author of  
Scaredy Squirrel.( Love that Scaredy Squirrel!)
It's about a little bug-eyed bunny of a book character who is 
waiting..and waiting...and waiting..
for his READERS!

When a reader finally opens the book the
 bunny is beside himself!

Then he wonders...

He begins to tell the reader just how long they've kept him waiting!

Long enough to watch paint dry! Long enough to find a needle 
in a haystack! Long enough to gather dust bunnies! (Oh, the idioms, 
and the opportunities!)

He goes on to scold his new readers for keeping him waiting so long
and insists on knowing where they have been.

The bunny begins to make a deal with the reader but gets interrupted by a phone call...

and then HE keeps his READERS waiting! How rude!

I can not wait to read this to my new class on our 
very first day!  Stay tuned and I'll show you all the fun 
things I have planned for this book!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump's Class for another Book Talk Tuesday. 

Click on the button if you're on the lookout for new books!
 It's the perfect place to start!