Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The End of Molasses Classes Part I

On my to-do list this summer was to catch up on some professional reading.  Right now, I have lots of time to read as I sit by the pool/beach by myself {poor hubby has to work}!  

First up on my list was The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  I have actually had this book for awhile but just couldn't get around to reading it.  Well, I finally did in the airport and I have no idea what I was waiting for!  I could not put this book down.  The energy and dedication that Ron Clark brings to the world of education is inspirational.

As teachers we all have that bad day, week, month or even year.  We struggle to help our students in the best way possible.  Some days we struggle more than others.  I highly recommend buying this book just to have in your classroom {or home} to rejuvenate you on those days that you need it most.

I thought that I would share with you what I learned from this book and the ideals that I am hoping to implement in my classroom this year.  There are a lot so I am breaking this book study up into four parts.  Each part will focus on one section of the book.

Core Principles and Values

2. Not Every Child Deserves a Cookie
As a teacher, I admit, I don't want children to feel left out.  If one person receives a reward, all students should receive that reward, right?  If not, we fear the consequence of an unhappy student or parent.  How do we differentiate {and celebrate}, then, the students who are working hard and those who are not?  If we give "cookies" when they aren't deserved, then we are telling our young people that they don't need to work hard to receive rewards.

There's a difference, however, between a cookie reward for effort and an actual grade.  Students need to be held to high expectations.  If we continue to dumb down education and to give students A's and B's because they "tried," we are doing them a disservice and failing to prepare them to be successful in the real world.

19. Make Learning Magical
We talk about making learning fun for our students and so many of us do.  But, how many of us truly make learning magical for our students?  We need to make books come alive for our students, which is more than just reading in different voices.  Our students need to be completely immersed in their learning.  It will make for such memorable experiences for them.

9. Make It Happen.  Don't Give Excuses; Find Solutions!
I purposely listed this one out of order.  I thought that it was an important one after number 19.  Many teachers {including myself} might read that "make learning magical" ideal and simply say, "that won't work in my classroom" or "I just don't have enough time."  We need to make time!  Students are going to learn a heck of a lot more when we create a wonderful learning experience for them than when we hand them a worksheet.  We all need to have that type of dedication and will to "make it happen" when it comes to the education of our children.

Teaching Blog Addict hosted a book study on The End of Molasses Classes.  Check it out, if you want to hear more feedback on the book from other bloggers!

Here is the schedule for the rest of my book study if you want to follow along:

August 2: Part II ~ The Role of the Parent in the Success of the Child
August 3: Part III ~ Creating the Right Climate and Culture
August 4: Part IV ~ Reaching Out Beyond the Classroom

Tomorrow, we have something big coming your way, so stay tuned!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made-It!

This week's Monday Made-It is coming to you from the great state of Hawaii!  Although, I kind of wish this great state wasn't under a Tropical Storm watch right now.  Hopefully we won't get hit too hard!  I am here on vacation...kinda/sorta.  My husband is here for work so I tagged along for the ride!  He is working all day so I get to work on blogging and TpT without any interruptions (dog, laundry, mailman, etc)!  Of course I am linking up with Tara for Monday Made-It!

My Monday Made-It came from the wonderful Katie Knight over at Teacher to the Core.  Love that girl!


She came up with the idea to create a binder to keep track of all the awesome clipart and fonts that has been collected.  I simply cannot remember everything that I purchase and, as much as I love using the computer, sometimes I just need something in 3D.

This binder sits next to me whenever and wherever I am creating.  Seriously.  I debated bringing it to Hawaii with me, but my husband told me I was crazy.  I use this thing All. The. Time.   

I have a section for just fonts.  Each font creator has their own page.  Some creators include a sample with their downloads.  If they don't, I just create a page for myself.  I write the name of the font in that font type.  Here are some awesome fonts from the KG font collection!

The back section is for clipart.  Again, each clipart designer gets their own page (or 5).  I use their preview pictures on their page.  Similar to the fonts, some designers include a preview .jpg of their collection.  If they don't, I just screenshot the TpT thumbnail.  I put the pages in alphabetical order by clipart artist.  Here is some amazing clipart from Ashley Hughes!

I don't print out a new page every time I purchase clipart - that would be a lot of ink!  I do it every couple of weeks or so.  This is a system that works wonderfully for me.  I know it won't work for everyone though!  Some TpT creators might say that it is a waste of time, but I find that it saves me time when it comes to creating a product.

While I'm on vacation, I plan to do some professional reading.  First up is The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  I am halfway through and am feeling inspired already!  As soon as I finish, I will be sharing my thoughts on it.

Hopefully I will get to read my book on the beach or by the pool once this tropical storm has passed us by!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

We're Diggin It!

It's getting to be that time.  Back to School time.  For some of you, that is.  I am only about halfway through my summer vacation.  Don't be too jealous though.  When all of you were lounging on the beach in May, I was still in my {hot} classroom.

Anyways, since it is Back to School time, Christina over at Bunting, Books and Bainbridge is hosting a linky party to share all our students' favorite things.  What fun!

This year we participated in a postcard exchange with classrooms from all 50 states.  Each class sent a postcard with information about their state on the back.  To get the kids excited about it, I decorated this mailbox from Hobby Lobby to put our postcards in.  Every time we "received" a postcard, I would put the flag up to let them know that we had mail.  The flag would be up when they got to school in the morning, but we wouldn't check it until the end of the day.  They were bursting with excitement by then!

Then we hung our postcards up next to our map of the country.  The students also filled out their own States booklet to keep track of all the important information. So much fun!

Word work was always a fun time in our class!  We had the coolest toys to play with....err to practice our words with!  First up, are the dry erase pockets from My Binding.  We put practice sheets inside and the students got to write on and erase their words.

Another word work favorite came from Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten.  Ipads and Iphones!  They were so excited to use these, you would have thought they were the real thing!  The students would "type" their word and then write it in the boxes.

Morning Journals were also a big hit in my classroom.  Each day, they had a different writing prompt to respond to as soon as they got into the classroom.  They wrote stories, made lists, wrote poems, answered questions and even had some free writes!

What are your students diggin in the classroom??  It's always interesting to see what the students like too!  I've already got some great ideas from others to use this year, go add yours over at Christina's blog!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Chalkboard Classroom

A chalkboard-themed classroom, that is!  {I do prefer to write on a whiteboard}  However, I am in love with this huge set of classroom decorations that incorporate chevron and chalkboard elements.  I am looking for a more mature look for my room this year and this was the perfect match!  The chevron brightens up the room, while the dark chalkboard keeps everything uniform.  Thus, The Chalkboard Classroom, was created!

Here are just a few of the products included in this set:

A Welcome Banner

Calendar Cards - months, days of the week, and months of the year {I put 14 in the middle because it's my favorite number - more on that later}

 Supply Labels


Schedule Cards

And, my favorite, binder covers.  I love these!

Ok, I told you my favorite number {14}.  What is YOUR favorite number??  Answer in the comments below, with your email, and you will be entered to win The Chalkboard Classroom!  I'll choose a winner before I go to bed tomorrow night!

Congrats to Suzy Q for being the blog winner!
Also, check out my Instagram for another chance to win!

Congrats to Always First Grade for being the Instagram winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated - this was so fun!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Facebook Freebie Hop

Happy Sunday!  Just a quick post today to fill you in on an amazing second grade Facebook Hop that is going on right now.  Twenty-three 2nd grade teachers have gotten together to bring you some back to school activities for FREE!  That's right, everything you need to get your year off on the right foot!

Tori, from Tori's Teacher Tips organized this huge hop and she did a wonderful job!  Head on over to her Facebook page to get started!  There are some pretty awesome activities for you to grab on this hop.

To add to the fun, there will also be a giveaway with a chance to win one product from each of our stores!  How cool is that?!  Time to get Facebook hoppin!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

RI Blogger Meet-Up!

Ever since I heard about Blogger Meet-Ups,  I have been itching to attend one!  I may or may not be super jealous of the ultimate meet-up going on right now in Vegas.  Unfortunately, there are not many bloggers up here in the New England area.  I posted a photo on Instagram and Kayla, from Meet Miss Parker, commented saying that she lived nearby!  She got to work right away and organized a wonderful meet-up in Newport, RI.

Kayla, Deirdre from A Burst of First, Dianne from Hopelessly Devoted, me, and Lori from Hey Teacher (blog coming soon)!

 They even brought gifts!  How cute are they??  I got a beautiful scarf and Scentos markers as well as a message in a bottle.  I definitely need to step up my game next time!

I can't wait until we have another meet-up!  Are there any other {nearby} RI teachers out there??  Let us know so that we can be sure to invite you next time!

On Friday, my sister got married!  She looked beautiful and we all had so much fun.  Here is a photo of my siblings and I.  Yes, I am the oldest and the shortest {I have 3-inch heels on too!}.

I made the favor cards for the table and my brother made the cake pops.  Mine was personalized to match my dress and tasted delicious!

My brother made the cake as well.  How amazingly talented is he??  

It was a whirlwind of a week, but an amazing time. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Made It!

It's been a whole week since I've blogged - yikes!  Stop by tomorrow to see what I've been up to.  In the meantime, we are going to celebrate another Monday Made-It with Tara!

My Monday Made-It isn't all that fancy this week.  I was going to head to the craft store, but the real-feel temperature outside is 100 degrees right now.  I decided to stay put in my nice, cool air conditioning.  I created some labels for the bins that I blogged about last week {see them here}. 

I think they came out really cute!  But...I'm not going to use them.  Those things were a royal pain to cut out!  I may lean more towards a circle or square shaped label, with a little less of a scalloped border. I'll share once I come up with those!

Last year I used bins to organize my weekly plans {see them here}, but they didn't work out so well.  I found that the papers always tipped over and curled up.  Drove.Me.Crazy.  This year, I'm thinking of using plastic drawers, like these:

I already own some (okay, a lot) of sets of these drawers but they are at school.  I created some labels, but I have no idea if they are going to fit!  Hopefully I can get into my classroom at the end of the week and measure my drawers.  I do like the way they came out though!  And they match my green-pink-blue theme!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Showin Off My Stuff!

Ever feel like you have a million things to do?  Of course, you are all teachers!  I have so much to do, but really wanted to join this linky party.  It was posted about 3 days ago, but I'm joining anyway!

Christina from Bunting, Books and Bainbridge wants to see our stuff for Back to School.  Well, I think she just opened up a can of worms!

Thanks to Erica's heads up, I ran to Big Lots to grab some goodies for my classroom.  Can you tell what color theme I am going with this year??

These crates will be used to house student book bags when they are not in use.  Don't worry, I have a pink one at school!

These bins will be for books in my classroom library.  I already have some bins from The Dollar Tree, which you can check out here.  These are a little bigger, which will be perfect for non-fiction books.

I think I am going to use the bins on the left for classroom materials such as pencils, crayons, scissors, etc.  The boxes on the right could be used for game pieces or flash cards.

 Not sure what I am going to do with these bins yet.  Any ideas??  I just couldn't resist the matching colors!

These small containers will probably be used for materials as well.  I had planned to use the ribbon {on the lef} for a border on my bulletins boards, but I don't think it is wide enough.  On the right is washi tape because, well, washi tape is just fun!

I had a helper while I was taking pictures and just had to share!  He was both scared of the bins and intrigued by the camera.

There is a chance that I have an obsession with storage containers!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover