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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Classroom Quilt

My kiddos worked together on a super cute & easy- peazy project last week. Those are the best kind, right? Together they worked on a classroom quilt.

This was a special project for a couple of reasons. For one thing, quilts are very special in my family so it was a fun way to share something about myself with the students. The project also provided lots of time to chitchat which is important during those first few days. Plus putting the pieces together helped unify the class as indivuals that are part of something bigger. 

To start the project I read the Keeping Quilt  by Patricia Polacco. Obviously, Patricia Polacco writes great stories but this little one has special place in my heart! 

The kids loved seeing the different ways that the quilt was used in the story.

 Then I shared my own quilts. It was fun showing off my mommy & grandma’s handy work. Of course the kids had a million questions and wanted to know if I used their quilts as a tablecloth, how old the quilts were, etc. During this time we also talked about family traditions. Several students talked about their own special blanket or quilt.

Next each of the students worked on their own “quilt blocks” which were really 6X6 inch scrapbook papers. I had saved scraps from my summer classroom projects so they were able to add ribbon, ric-rac and paper scraps to create a design on their 6X6 scrapbook paper. They had fun making something out of the mess of scraps.

When they were done we pasted the “quilt blocks” together to make a classroom quilt. Then we talked about how we are all creative and different just like our quilt blocks but we all fit together to make something beautiful. A little cheesy I know—but the first week of school needs a whole lotta cheese! :) 

What projects do you do to promote a happy & healthy classroom community??? I am always on the lookout for new ideas! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Sunday! :)

         Happy Sunday, ya'll! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend! 
I was blessed to spend the weekend  with my amazing family! Friday after school we packed up the car and drove to my hometown to sneak in a whole lotta family time. It was the perfect way to finish the first week of the school year.  

Saturday we we had a wonderful time wine tasting in beautiful  Paso Robles, California.

If you're ever out in California and  make it to the Central Coast you have to check out the wineries in Paso Robles. It's about 40 minutes north of where I grew up and there  are SO many great wineries!!!

 I am a true California girl and have been to Napa a number of times-- but Napa has nothing on Paso! I can never decide which I like better, the sweet wine or the sweet people who run the wineries. 

Anyway,  we were lucky enough to tour the vineyards at Sillwaters and also take a blending class. Then the winemakers wife fixed us lunch. I mean seriously, where else do you get that kind of treatment? 

 This morning we headed down to Avila Beach (Only my favorite beach EVER!)  to enjoy the whales that were passing through. 

We didn't end up seeing any whales --but we did see lots of seals, dolphin and starfish. So I'm not complaining!

After our 4 hour drive,  I came home to find I now have 25 followers! A nice end to a fabulous weekend!

Now back to reality...Week #2 is here,,,ready or not!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freebie Friday: Superhero Comics

Whew! What a busy week---That seems to be the theme of all of my posts lately, busy, busy, busy! I guess it’s just that time of year. The first week of school is now officially over. It was a great week but I am soo happy the weekend is here! :) 

On Monday I linked up with Blog Hoppin for Teacher Week. Well….one things lead to another and somehow I missed Tuesday, Wednesday AND  Thursday….but it’s Freebie Friday now and I am BACK!
Click HERE to get your copy of my Superhero Comic Activity. 

I am super excited to share this fun freebie with you! I originally created the Superhero Comics lesson when I was in college. I was working with second grade students in an after school setting. We read Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey during homework club.
 The Adventures of Captain Underpants
While I was working with my sweet little second graders I stumbled upon this  website .  It has copies of the actual comics that Dav Pilkey drew as a child. How cool is that?!?!? 

As a culminating project the students created their own comic book character. I wish I had pictures of their cute little superheroes!

Fast-forward three years, I’m teaching 5th grade and need to teach onomatopoeia. What better way to incorporate  onomatopoeia than with a comic book lesson?!?!

Just today I pulled this lesson as a Fun Friday activity. I have quite an artistic bunch and they loved this activity! They worked hard to plan there characters. Some created very detailed story lines. They  came up with some fun characters like Mohawk Man and Super Star! One especially creative student came up with Tomato Man who fought his number on  nemesis Potato Man.

Check out their creative work below. 

Superhero Stats Sheet (Jotting down all of those great ideas!)  

Creating their comic strips using their newly created superhero. 

I wish i would have captured more of the comics! They really came out nicely and was a fun way to end the first week of school in a creative way! 

I hope that you can get use out of the freebie in your own classroom! Again, click HERE if you wanna grab it.  Please leave me a comment either here or at my TPT store if you decide to download. I love to hear from you! 

I know a lot of you will be returning to school next week, so here are a couple of fun back to school freebies: 

Fun freebie! Cute little bookmarks to welcome your students the first week of school. (grades K - 6)
               Back to School Book Marks 

Well I am off to relax after a long week! I'm going out of town to visit with family. Can't wait for a little R&R. Have a great weekend! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School & Monday Must Haves

Whew! Just finished my first day of school! Things seemed to go well and I was so happy to meet my sweet new kiddos. I am sure it will be a great year! But boy am I tired after today. All I wanna do is put my feet up and relax. I was doing just that when I stumbled upon this fun little link up. hosted by Blog Hoppin.
First up:  Monday Must Haves...

My Must Haves include....

# 1  My little computer that could!

We've been through a lot and I am afraid that it's on its last legs but I would be lost without it!

#2 Chart paper, chart paper and more chart paper! 
 3M Flip Charts with Bleed-Resistant Paper
Love this stuff! I use it all of the time for anchor charts, class notes and a million other things....

#3 Crayola Markers 

Gotta have something to write on those charts!

#4 Baskets and Containers 
There are just so many, many things to organize and store in a classroom. Between library books, markers, crayons, math manipulatives and the million other "things" in the classroom, I can never have enough baskets, container or bins.

#5 And of course Starbucks!

I love you too, chai latte!!! I wouldn't be my happy, peppy self if I didn't stop at Starbucks EVERY morning! :)

What are your must haves???? I am always on the look out for new teacher finds!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Homework! Oh Homework...

I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you
away in the sink.
If only a bomb
would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework your giving me fits! 

Anyone else remember this Jack Prelutsky poem??? I just love it! You can read the whole poem here

We memorized "Homework!" when I was in fourth grade and would recite the first verse everyday when we our teacher assigned homework. She said that was our time to complain about the homework...after we recited the first verse that was it. Complaining time was over. It worked like a charm. We never complained after that and we LOVED being dramatic about our homework poem. Didn't I just have a smartie for a teacher! (She just happened to be my favorite teacher of ALL TIME! Gotta love Mrs. Wray! ) 

Somehow I forgot to teach this poem to my class in the past, but I will definitely be using it as I introduce our homework system tomorrow (which is the first day of school! Eeekkk!). 

Anyway, I wanted to do a quick post today about the homework kits I am making for my kiddos. This is what the kits  look like: 

(Sorry for the glare! Ziplock baggies aren't the best for pictures!) 

They include: Homework Folder, 2 pencils, box of crayons, erasers, notebook,  highlighter, homework policy and a reference sheet (more on that later). 

 I didn't have a big problem with homework last year but I have heard that they had a tough time in fourth grade last year so I am trying to be proactive and set clear expectations from the start. 

There's nothing to fancy in these kits but its my little way of knowing that all of my students have exactly what they need to be successful with the homework I assign. It also eliminates the excuse of "I couldn't do the homework because I don't have any ____________." I also like it because it clearly lays out the homework policy and consequences for missing homework for all to see. 

I found this amazing reference sheet online @ 

This is a great math reference sheet for 4th grade students through high school. She also has TONS of free resources here. You have to check out her website! 

On the opposite side of the reference sheet I included my own homework policies and expectations. 

I think it is SO important to make sure that the students actually understand HOW to use there resources so I designed a scavenger hunt homework assignment that includes 20 questions. All of the answers can be found in the homework kit or on the reference sheet.

I also created this poster showing check, check plus and check minus work!
I included an example of a homework assignment that is check plus quality work, check quality and check minus quality, along with the description. 

I hope that this all pays off and that I won't have any homework issues this year. 
What do you do to prepare your students for a successful year of homework? 
I know a lot of districts in my area start school tomorrow, too! Good luck to all of you! Whether your in school or not have a happy Monday! :)

You're givi

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back To School

It’s been a busy week working in the classroom but everything is finally starting to look pulled together! I meant to take pictures of all that I have been working on but this is as far as I got …

That's right, I stopped taking pictures after the front door. Oops!

When I wasn't at school I was spending my paycheck at Target. I was there four times this week!!! And it was a mad house every time! Turns out I am not the only one back to school shopping this week. :) Here are a few of my finds...

New seating for the reading corner. Love that bright blue! 

Target Home ™ Basic Modern Rug.Opens in a new window

And a new rug for the reading corner. (Can't wait to share my new reading corner makeover :)) 

You can never have enough storage (especially in my teeny-tiny classroom!).  

I also picked up there ADORABLE borders for my bulletin boards! I got em in green, blue and black--all with white polka-dots. So fun! 

I also picked up a couple of things for myself! 

 Love, love, love my  new Target blazer!

After all of this shopping and setting up I actually do feel pretty prepared for my first day on Monday. I hope that feeling lasts all weekend long! I always begin to feel a little anxious around Sunday night. 

Are you feeling prepared for school or have you already start? What have you found on your shopping trips??? Leave me a comment and lemme know! :) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Made It Monday and FREEBIES :)

Hi all! I am so excited to join up with Fourth Grade Frolics  for Made It Monday --even if I am a little late! I am definitely a procrastinator so  of course I have left a lot of projects for this last week of summer. There has been  lots of cutting and gluing going on in my house...thanks to pintrest. Seriously, I don't know what I ever did without it! 

Besides crafting I have been working in my classroom a TON! We finally got in yesterday and I have been preparing the classroom nonstop since then! I'm so excited for my new students! I even made them some little treats! Which reminds me, I  also have a couple of freebies to on! :) 


This is what I have been up to....

Trying to keep that fifth grade chitchat in check! :) 

Box Top Storage

Banner to add to my reading focus wall.

New behavior chart! My old one really took a beating. Time for a new one!

Fun little treat for the first day of school. Who doesn't love goldfish?!?!

And that brings me to my freebies. I created a couple of treats for my own students and I wanna share them with you too! You can get the labels for the little goldfish treat bags here   This document contains labels for kindergarten trough 6th grade. 

I also created little bookmarks to welcome my kiddos...

These are also FREE and you can get them here. They are available for grades 1- 6. I can't wait to give them to my new students on Monday! I hope that you can find a use for these freebies.

I just started my TPT yesterday! So  if you do download please let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from ya! 

Well I am off to check out all the other fabulous creations! LOVE  Made It Monday! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

You've Got Mail!

Happy Sunday! This weekend has flown by! Only 8 more days until school starts for me so I have been busy, busy, busy! 

One of the many things I have been working in the last few days are these  little postcards to send to my kiddos.

 I picked them up while I was on vacation in Virginia (I teach in California). I was super excited to 
grab one for each of my 5th graders because each postcard shows a picture of Jamestown and shares a little info-- which is perfect since we will learn all about Jamestown in just a few months!

On the back I included a little note to each student plus a reminder about the first day of school, as well as a reminder of to bring their summer homework. (Do other schools assign summer work? This was new to me when I started working in this district.)

Anyway, I hope that my little darlings enjoy getting some mail! Do you send anything out prior to school starting/meet the teacher night?

Now I am off to cut, glue and laminate some more!!!! So many project, so little TIME!  

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