Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Little Projects

I have just 12 days until students arrive in my classroom!  12 days!  Waaahhh!  I want to pretend like it's not happening, and go have fun with my little boys!  

But, alas... I have been diligently focusing on my classroom for last few days.  I am either at school, or at home thinking and planning about school.  I've also stayed up WAY too late working on little projects.  I thought you might like to see a few of the little things I have done:

This year's bathroom passes.  I'll spray with lysol every day, but I think it's going to keep them out of the toilet, and maybe just a little more germ-free!  Made with sparkle visors from Wal-Mart, and sparkle letter stickers from Dollar Tree.

"Ask Me" visors are for my student helpers during lessons where students need help.  I use during writers' workshop, and/or I will have my first finishers put them on to help other students during any type of lesson.  They would be great during centers, too, when you are working with small groups.  Students would know if there is something that can't wait, or they need help with their electronic equipment, they can go to the "Ask Me" student.  I'm sure you have more ideas of how to use!

My new Star of the week bag! Made with a black snap bag from the Target Dollar Spot, iron-on letters, and sparkle fabric paint.  I also painted "Mrs. Geary's Class" on back in case it gets left on a bus!

These awesome notebooks were an idea from Leslie, at Jack of All Trades!  See her tutorial here.  I made some for my co-workers and I, and next I will make some for my boys' teachers.  I think it's a great little back to school gift!  

The "Rock Star" Desk.  Hot-glued a wooden guitar from Hobby Lobby, and used sticker letters.  I'm sure they'll need replaced several times.  This desk will be used for the student with "Rockin'" behavior each day.  I'm doing a Hollywood theme in my room, and I thought it would be fun to choose a rock star at the end of every day.  Since I use tables, the desk is a novelty for students, and they love to be the one who gets to sit in it for the next day!  I announce at the end of every day, and we cheer for the student selected.

I love this little owl cover I made for my shelf!  It hides all of my personal items.  This shelf is part of the student writing center on top, but since I don't have a teacher desk this year, I needed to store some of my things below.  You can't see in the picture, but I sewed button holes on both sides, and the curtain is resting on some hooked magnets  (metal shelf), so I can open it at any time.  

Two more sewing projects -  skirts for a table and projector cart.  I sewed ribbon around the top to make it cuter. :)

Now I have to get busy with my walls.  I have a goal to be organized by Wednesday.  I'm not sure if I'll make it, but I'm sure going to try!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Phonogram Wall Giveaway Winners!

Due to the low response to entry in my giveaway, I am giving away a free phonogram set to everyone who entered. In return, PLEASE give me any feedback you may have! It's the first item I have ever listed for sale, and I want to make sure it's everything you hoped! Thanks in advance! :)

The winners are: Laurel from "Teach Them Love"; Delighted, Prudence,
Tina from "Quench Your First", and Christine!

Laured, Delighted, and Christine - I have sent you an Email.  Let me know if you don't get it!  Prudence and Tina, I will need your Email addresses as well as whether you would like the polka dot or black and white set.   You can send me an Email at kendralr@yahoo.com.    I'll do my best to send out before Thursday, if I can figure out how to do it from my phone.  But you will have it by Thursday, for sure!  

Thanks, ladies, for reading my little blog, and entering the giveaway! You're awesome!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Last Day to Enter Phonogram Giveaway!

Today is the LAST day to enter my giveaway.  So far, everyone who has joined is winning!  I am giving away 4 phonogram board set printables in your choice of black or polka-dot border.  See this post below to enter, and for more details! 

I will select a winner at 11:00 p.m. (MST) tonight!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Curriculum Mapping & Giveaway reminder

Next week, I will be meeting with my team to plan out our year.  I have started to map it out in my mind, but I can't wait to finally have it all written down.   A few years ago, we decided to do this together for the first time.  Below is the curriculum map I made, and you can download it on Scribd to use for yourself!  We print it out on legal or larger paper, then fill in the boxes in pencil.  Each person's may be a tiny bit different, and the writing seems good for helping the brain remember!  Enjoy!

Also, as a reminder... my phonogram board giveaway ends tomorrow night! Click on the link to find out how to enter!

Joplin Yearly Map


I had SO much fun today!   We went to the Discovery Center of Idaho (kind of like a children's museum about science), for Space Days.  We did science for four hours, ate freeze-dried ice cream (not recommended), AND my kids got to meet astronaut Jose Hernandez and the first teacher in space, Barbara Morgan!  They were on cloud nine. 

Mr. Hernandez gave an awesome speech that brought tears to my eyes.  He started out as the youngest child in a family of migrant workers, going to 5 different schools in a year.  He had a difficult time learning English - or anything for that matter.  In second grade, he told his teacher he was going back to Mexico for 3 months, and his teacher (Mrs. Young) paid a home visit to his family.  She told them...."Children are like trees.  If you transplant them too much, they grow weak.  If you want a tree to grow strong, it needs to stay in one place so that it can plant deep roots, be nourished, and grow.  Children are the same way."  His parents took it to heart, and they stopped "migrating."  He saw a TV program when he was 10 that made him decide he would be an astronaut.  He worked hard, and he never gave up.   He became an engineer.  He applied to NASA 12 times, was turned down 11 times, and finally accepted after 12 years of trying.  He flew on a mission in the Discovery in 2009.  Before the launch, there was a dinner at NASA and guess who he brought -  Mrs. Young, his 2nd grade teacher!  Awww.... if that doesn't swell your heart, I don't know what would!  

It just goes to show -- sometimes what we do for a child can seem little and maybe we even feel like it didn't matter, but we might find out later that it really did!

(My two darlings with astronaut Jose Hernandez)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Currently.... linky party

Oh Boy 4th grade is hosting a Think, Write, Share Linky Party!

Here is what you do...
Write down what you are currently
stalking (include 3 Blogs one has to be non teacher)
so here is mine...
  •  Listening to my two boys talk about Jabba the Hut pooping.  I know, this is disgusting!  They're done now after a stern look from Mom. ;-)
  • Loving Pinterest and all of the great ideas!  (I just need to stop looking and start DOING!)
  • Thinking about the ten million things I need to do today, and how my air conditioner must be broken because it should NOT be 76 in here already. :(
  • Wanting  beautiful dresses from Shabby Apple and an external hard drive.  
  • Needing to get off my butt and take my kids out on errands. (My son says, "Mom, we have so many things to do today, it is supposed to be a road trip!")
  • Stalking  Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy HourThe Inspired Apple, and Lesson Plan S.O.S.

My Pinterest Finds - a new addiction

I have *finally* been admitted into the "cool kids club" of Pinterest. :-)   I am officially addicted.  I've spent hours just pinning away!  Here are some of my favorite finds so far:

This would be great for a lesson about Mondrian!! Granted, the lines would be white instead of black, but it's the same general principal. My firsties would love it!

This I didn't actually find on Pinterest, but I pinned it on there. It's an idea from a preschool blog I follow. (teachpreschool.com) I love this idea, and plan to go shopping for my own placemats soon!

A pegboard writing center! LOVE it!

I really, REALLY want to eat this! I just don't want the associated weight gain.

I have to make these for my kiddos this year!

There are TOO many things to love on Pinterest. Now I have to get off the computer and actually do something myself. If you haven't entered my Giveaway yet, check it out!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pinterest - a cry for HELP!

I have been reading about Pinterest all summer, and seeing other people's awesome posts.  I have requested an invite probably 4 times, but have never received an invite.  How does this website know that I am not one of the "cool kids?"  My disguise isn't working, I guess. :) 

So, for all of you who use pinterest, can anyone help me out?  I'd love to be able to keep track of all those awesome ideas I've seen for the classroom... not to mention the RECIPES!  It looks so fun.   So, calling into the great wide world.  Can anyone hear me?  Buehler? Buehler?  Buehler???

Monday, August 1, 2011

The best giveaway EVER....

Remember those adorable red chairs I posted about for the classroom decor linky party?  (See post here)  Well, I could not believe it when I saw that Katie, at Katie's (Little Ones) Learning Lounge is hosting a giveaway of one of the little red rockers from Guidecraft!  This is TOO much!  I am crossing fingers and toes and braiding my hair, people!  (My four year old is crossing his eyes -  newfound skill. Haha.)   Sign me up!  Click on the Learning lounge name above to enter her giveaway.

And, if you feel like it, check out mine from yesterday, too.  I am giving away 4 phonogram wall sets, and no one has entered as of yet, so your chances are pretty dang good! :)

An invaluable resource - and a little giveaway

I visited my classroom last week, and it is a Disaster... with an extra capital D.  Our school got new carpet this summer, and everything had to come out of the rooms, and off the walls.  Now I have practically a blank slate to start over again!

I have been thinking about my phonogram wall for a long time.  I don't know if any of you display the phonograms (word chunks) in your room, but I find it way helpful for my students!  However, I haven't been happy with the way I was doing it.  I just had them up in any old order, and students had to search hard to find what they needed.  I felt like there was a better way to organize the materials on the wall, so that they could also be organized in the child's brain (visual learners know what I am talking about!).

So, I have spent hours and HOURS this weekend creating my new phonogram wall.  And, if I do say so myself, it is a.dor.a.ble!  Because of the time I spent creating it, I have decided to list it on Teacher's Notebook.  Here is a preview pic:  (okay, 2 -  I decided to create one copy in polka dots and one without)

I have never seen anything like this for purchase anywhere before, even at the teacher store!  I would easily pay $20 for it at the teachers' store, so I think I have it listed for a bargain.

If you have never used a phonogram wall before, you will LOVE this!  Mine starts out blank at the beginning of the year - just the header will be up.  (I made a couple of cute hollywood-themed ones for me, but I have plain ones, too).   As you teach each phonogram sound, you add the sound headers, and the circles with the actual letters beneath.  Students learn to organize phonograms by sound, and can find them quickly and easily.

I am not a "fluff" teacher.  There is nothing on my wall that is not created with (or part of a lesson with) the students,  and is not interactive and usable for them on a daily basis.  If something is on my wall, I want it to have purpose.  My phonogram wall is used continuously by my students - during both reading and writing.  The first 6-8 weeks of my phonics instruction are completely based around its use.   I have also included a minilesson in my teachers' notebook resource to help you teach your students how to use the resource for writing.  I find it to be an excellent "bridge" for students as they transition from invented spelling to traditional.  I finally found out how to more effectively make that happen with the use of this resource, and I am so excited to share it with others!

I plan on making a book of activities to go along with this wall throughout the year.  We practice handwriting right along with the phonogram wall, and we also use it to help prepare us for standardized testing.  It will take me weeks to get all of that done, so bear with me, but the ideas are already rolling, and I can't wait to share!!!

SO, I did mention a giveaway.  I do feel bad that I can't just give this away for free, because I feel like what is best for students should always be shared among teachers.  I hope that you understand, and I am offering it at what I believe to be a bargain price for what you get:

  • How to use document with instructions for displaying/assembling the materials
  • your choice of 12 different title headers, including 2 Hollywood/Rockstar/Star themed headers and a variety of colors and sizes.  I am willing to customize header colors for those who have purchased the set if you send me an Email. 
  • 24 smaller "sound" headers for organizing phonograms.
  • 52 phonogram circles for display and flash cards
  • student personal phonogram chart
  • student fillable personal phonogram chart
  • writing miniless for teaching students to use the phonogram wall as a writing tool.
BUT, since I still like to give stuff away free,  4 people will receive the phonogram kit FREE.
To enter:
1)  Follow my blog and comment on this post.
2)  Post about my giveaway/blog on your website or blog with a LINK to my site and comment about it on this post.  (If you don't have a blog, you can post about it on Facebook or Twitter.)
I will select the winners on Sunday, 8/7!

For those who want to buy, click here  

Happy sounding out words!!!