Sunday, August 24, 2014

Should we make something new for Back To School Night?

Every year it seems I tend to do similar things for back to school night to spruce up the classroom. This year, Back To School Night is less than a week after school begins so time is not plentiful for large, elaborate (yet beautiful) crafts.
No problem! I came up with this little three dimensional writing craft that will add a little liveliness to the student's desks for when the parents make their visit. Instead of having the students draw a picture of themselves I am going to glue down a photo of them. This will also be helpful to the parents when they walk in to find their child's desk.  All they have to do is look for his/her picture.

It is a perfect start of the school year activity as well because it helps kids focus on a goal they have and some of their favorite things about being in school.  Plus, 3D anything is a bonus!!

I know that sometimes at the beginning of the school year, students are on all different levels of learning so I also included unlined schoolhouses for students to draw pictures instead of writing.  

Whenever we do any writing projects in the beginning of the year, I always brainstorm words we might need and write them on the board. To help out the little writers a bit, I included a "words you might need" list right on the page.  

You can visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store and download one to use in your classroom. 


Friday, August 22, 2014

What was this gal doing in NYC?

Today was the TpT Tri-State Blogger Meet Up in NYC. I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to meet such wonderful, creative, and driven people. I had a great lunch, with great people, great conversation...and a visit to the TpT office to meet the welcoming people behind it all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another TpT Sale!!!

TpT is having another sale. It is a one day sale and all items in my store will be 20% off for one day on August 20th.  Click the image below to get shopping!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blog Hoppin Teacher Week, Who Am I Monday?

Today I'm joining in on the Blog Hoppin Teacher Week Fun.

I'm going to take you through a little introduction of what makes me into the person I am.  My name is Christina. Chrissy to my family members, Aunt, Mommy, sister, Mrs. Schneider, and Miss K. for my students who I taught before I was married.
 Let's begin with the first 10 Things About Me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Loved That Lesson

Loved That Lesson!

Today I'm linking up with Meg from The Teacher Studio to share one of my all time favorite lessons. It's a great "Getting To Know You" lesson that works well at Back-To-School time.

To teach this lesson you only need two things, a copy of Kevin Henkes book, Chester's Way and some green construction paper.

If you haven't read this story yet, Chester's Way is about a little mouse named Chester and his very close friend Wilbur.  Both Chester and Wilbur enjoy the same types of games and have the same "play it safe" personalities.  They do everything together and refer to themselves as "two peas in a pod."  However, when a third little mouse, Lilly moves into the neighborhood they are presented with a very different type of character. Lilly is creative and spontaneous.  Chester and Wilson are uncomfortable with her unconventional ways but soon learn to love them and they become "three peas in a pod?"

The students love this story and it sparks a great discussion on friendship.  Students think of a friend that they would consider the "other pea to their pod" and we brainstorm a list of things we do together with our friend.  

The students then create a "pea in a pod" craft to showcase two things they do with their best friend.

(we do gymnastics together, we play four square)  

These make a great bulletin board and the kids have a great time sharing and getting to know one another.  

I absolutely love teaching this lesson!! 

What is your favorite lesson?


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Weekend Reflections

Today I am linking up with Cyndie from Chalk One Up for The Teacher for her Weekend Reflections linky. The weekend isn't quite over yet but since I'm still on summer break, everyday is like a weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts!  

We aren't back at school yet so my weekend reflections are more personal than school related.  We return on September 2nd so I still have a good part of August left to soak up the summer sun.  That is exactly what I have been doing today.  

I actually got a good "quiet" 20 minutes to read this afternoon while the kids played in the pool.  It would have been longer if my iPad didn't run out of battery (why do I forget to keep it charged for opportunities like this one?)  Oh well. I do like the convenience of reading on my iPad however, the glare was getting to me. It reminded me of the Kindle commercial where the girl is reading from a Kindle at the beach no glare, no problem, and her friends on their iPads are squinting to see. That was me today. 

On another note, I did a little "Classroom Decor" shopping yesterday.  I hit up a great sale at our local teacher store and was so excited to find these polka dot borders which go great with my polka dot theme this year.  

These e-card seemed to fit so well here...

A third thing I am reflecting on is how I need to get my fingers moving and my computer cranking to finish up Units 2-6 of my McGraw-Hill Wonders High Frequency Word Practice.  I set myself a goal to get them done by the end of this week but if we keep having sunny, gorgeous days like this that is going to be an ultimate challenge for me. 
Only 250 more of these to go :)

High Frequency Word Practice

I pulled out a pen and paper yesterday to start writing out a game plan of my Back To School preparations. I thought it would be a good idea to go back into my classroom and retrieve some of my teacher manuals so that I can start mapping out September. I was planning to start set up next week to give myself enough time so that I wouldn't feel rushed. Well...while I was there I was informed that my room will not be ready to access until the last week of August.  At first I felt panic come over me but then I soon realized that it's a blessing in disguise because now it will force me to enjoy what remains of my summer. Besides, do I really need two plus weeks to set up my classroom?? Nah, a couple of solid 8 hour days in there will be just as productive (if not more). I do tend to socialize a little too much when I feel like I have "plenty of time" to get things done.
On another note. I have A LOT of things to prepare outside of my classroom so in the meantime I can do all of that in the comfort of my home.

Our district is using McGraw-Hill Wonders Reading Program and we are now in the second year.  I was on a maternity leave for most of last year so I sort of feel like this is new to me.  One thing I really want to improve this year is the use of my word wall and the students exposure to the words that go on it.  In the past I've been guilty of stapling my words up there in a last minute rush."Hey everyone, quick, look here, I'm adding some words to our wall."

I designed a High Frequency Word Practice sheet to go with each of the words.  Right now I'm thinking that I'm going to use this as an individual assessment. It's quick and easy and will tell me and the students if they have mastered a word or still need to practice it.

My plan is that students will individually complete the top portion of the page. If they are successful at identifying the word they will cut the bottom out and place it into the side of their word wallet labeled "Words I Know."  If they are showing signs of struggle I will have them keep their word on the side of their word wallet labeled, "Keep Practicing."  

I also made word cards for the word wall.  I like these because they have the boxed lettering so students can visualize the formation of the word. I also like that they aren't huge. The word cards that came with our program are too large for my word wall and just don't work for me.  

Here is a link to my TpT Store if you want to use these in your classroom.  The Start Smart Unit is a FREEBIE!!!!!!

Here is Unit 1...

Unit 2 through Unit 6 are coming very soon!!! I plan to have them done by the end of the week :)  By writing this I have to get it DONE!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Let's Have Some Fun

Just because summer is coming to an end and the school year preparation is about to begin, does not mean that the fun has to stop.  I'm linking up with Sally from Elementary Matters to tell a fun school story and remind everyone that LOTS of laughs do happen during the school year.

 Thinking of a single funny school story was a little bit of a challenge because there are so many. The one I'm about to share happened several years ago. I was pregnant with my second daughter, Ellie.  I was about 8 months pregnant and looked somewhat like a "globe."  As I was standing in the doorway a little second grader said to me, "Mrs. Schneider did you have the baby yet?"  "No, no she's still in there," I reply ( a little surprised by this question because I would imagine this was obvious to many). Then, little Jack said, "Yes, I thought she was still in there because I can see the baby's nose!!!"  What little Jack actually was seeing was my belly button. Even with my "loose" fitting maternity clothes, my belly button still made a bump under any and everything I wore.  I still chuckle when I think of this story.

I'm also going to share a fun little Back To School activity that I do with my class each year.  I call it, "Chrysanthemum's Crumpled Heart." It goes along with Kevin Henke's book, Chrysanthemum. For those of you who haven't read Chrysanthemum, she is an adorable mouse with a very large name. The little mice in her class tease her for having such a "strange and long name." It is a clear depiction of bullying that the students can relate to. To accompany the story we do several activities that you can download here from my TpT store.

Just a little reminder that TpT is having a big Back to School Sale on August 4th and 5th.  I know I am filling up my shopping cart with all kinds of goodies to start the school year.  

Let the fun begin!!!!

Get ready for Back To School

Hi Everyone,
My Teachers Pay Teachers Store will be on sale on August 4th-5th. All my products will be marked at 20% off.

Happy Shopping!