Saturday, August 25, 2012

Robot baby and Spotlight Saturday!

Happy weekend!  This weekend I found myself with a temporary additional member of the family.  My daughter got to bring home her health project...a BABY! She's an adorable robot baby that acts like a real baby.  She coos, coughs, cries, and yes, SCREAMS when she needs to be fed, burped, or have her diaper changed.  HOWEVER, It turned into quite an ordeal for my daughter when nothing she did to help the baby seemed to be working!  She was doing all the right things...feeding, burping, rocking, cuddling, holding her head, etc. with NO POSITIVE responses from the baby...which I informed her was "REAL LIFE" sometimes.  After agonizing over this baby for hours and it continuing to bawl, I thought "Hmmm...something doesn't seem quite right."  The investigation began.  I viewed the demo videos online and discovered that every time the baby cried and she picked it up, there was supposed to be some kind of beep.  (Her bracelet monitor making physical contact with the baby was supposed to set off a sensor) Sure enough hers was NEVER beeping.  We looked more closely at this tiny tag on the bracelet only to discover the number on it and the baby didn't match!!   Sure enough, her sweet teacher emailed me back @ 10:00 on Friday night to inform me another student was having the same issues.  SO...the ole' robot baby accidental switcheroo took place at some point before she ever got home.  The story ends with an 'emergency shut-off' switch she led us to, and an A for effort from my precious daughter who took it like a real trooper.  It's amazing how a "robot baby" can bring a flood of memories back.  Mine just didn't have an emergency shut-off switch back then.  ;-)

Ready for some freebies?  I've got them for you!  

Sally from Elementary Matters has some great tools for your students' desks that she customized to fit her classroom needs.  She's sharing several of those with you.  She has a  number line counting with 1's, number line counting with 10's, a colorful 100 grid, some reading AND science tools too!  These items would "fancy up" any student's desk and are a nice alternative to the name tags I've always purchased in the past.  

Need some visuals for teaching the different types of sentences?  Addie has some adorable "monster theme" posters for you to do just that.  Make those big words...declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory a little less "scary" with her cute posters!  Click image to grab!  

This last one is especially for you Kindergarten and even Pre-K mommies or teachers.  Amanda has a K assessment ready to go...FREE.  Check your students (or own children) on letters and sounds using this handy tool available in her TpT store.  It comes with instructions, upper and lower case letter cards, a random letter check sheet, and a spreadsheet for recording your data.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  I hope it's as beautiful of a day where you are as it is here!
Bananas for automatic shut-off buttons and gorgeous sunny days!  :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Push for Evidence-Based

As my district dives into Common Core a little more each year, my teachers are doing what good teachers do...looking for ways to teach kids how to be excellent thinkers.  Gone are the days of answering questions with one word, or answering with sentences so simple that they hardly require any thought.  Gone are the days of "Just because."  (Although as a parent, I'm claiming my parental right to use that one when I feel like it! tee hee)
Searching for evidence based anything for elementary students turned out to be more challenging than I thought.  Everything I did find was related to high school and in no way shape or form appropriate for teaching our young students how to write and cite evidence from the text.  So I did what I usually do when I can't find something... just create it myself. :-)  

I created 8 mini "kid friendly" posters to be used as a springboard for discussion and teaching students how to cite evidence and justify their answers.  These are EASY to throw on some construction paper and laminate!  I'm curious what your district or school is doing to help support teachers in this process of pushing kids to explain their thinking.  You know me, I LOVE to hear from you, SO....
I'll email a set of these mini-posters to the first 10 people that would be willing to share.  We all learn from each other!  Don't forget to leave your email address!  :-)  
Bananas for learning from each other,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's Spotlight Saturday!

Here's hoping my blog scheduler WORKS because chances are I'm SLEEPING IN this morning!   Happy Saturday!  I've got some more outstanding freebies for you to investigate on this Spotlight Saturday feature today!  Let's DIVE right in! 

Who's all in favor of making life a little easier?  If you raised your hand, go ahead and head on over to my friend, Heidi's blog to snatch her Parent Communication Freebie.  It comes with a neatly organized parent contact list, student information sheet, and a call log information sheet.  Hmmm...wishing I had this last year instead of my plain yellow legal pad.  It's much cuter!  :-)   

Want another back to school "must have" freebie?  As much as you LOVE to be at school, April at Grade School Giggles knows you will need a sub at some point in the year.  She's created an EDITABLE powerpoint printable for your Substitute basket or binder!  It comes with 19 pages you can edit to suit your specific instructions for the day you're out.  Schedules, lesson plans, transportation, behavior plan, medical and learning needs, and much more are included in this adorable apple themed goodie.

Data binders...We all have them these days, as our instruction needs to be data driven, right?  Laura over at Corkboard Connections has a terrific freebie for you on Graphing Oral Fluency.  Students are monitored for fluency while reading a leveled text for one minute and charting the words they read per minute correctly.  After completing their chart, students plot their fluency data on a line graph.  This becomes a visual tool (and motivator) for students as they watch their own progress on the line graph.  *What a great way to teach across the curriculum...fluency in reading AND data with graphing!  

Here's hoping that these three FABULOUS freebies help get your year started off on the right foot! 

Bananas for sleeping in this morning and for teachers who generously share their goodies!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Blogging

Hi friends,

I feel like I've been M.I.A. from my blog, my family, my friends, and my life to be perfectly honest.  It's definitely the first couple of weeks of school!   I AM enjoying my new job as Literacy Coach, though.  There's just SO MUCH to learn and SO MANY things to find for SO MANY people right now!  :-)

BWS tips buttonI actually have a post for today, BUT it's on someone else's blog.  HA HA!  So if you want a place value game to play complete with a freebie, jump  on over to Leanne's blog where I have everything posted!  

Drop me a line and let me know how school is going for you if you're back.  Good class?  Great class? You'd rather not talk about your class?!

 Bananas for friends who let me guest blog.  Thanks Leanne!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL BASH (a sale & a prize)

WHEW...who's back at school?  ME!  But as you know, I took a new position as Literacy Coach.  As with any new job there are many hurdles and challenges, but I keep telling people I'm on a learning curve.  I love my new job so far, although I haven't slept much, skipped lunch a day or two, and haven't really needed to go to the gym since I've been running around like a road runner, as well as loading and unloading boxes for days.  (Wait...that sounds just like teaching!!!)
HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL for a lot of us and for those that are getting there!  The BIG Back to School Sale is happening tomorrow and Monday Aug. 12-13th on TpT!  Most teachers are throwing a 20% off sale, and TpT is throwing an additional 8% off of that!  There's NO BETTER TIME to shop on TpT than during these 2 days!  The deals will be amazing!  DON'T FORGET TO USE THE PROMO CODE AT THE TOP TO GET THE FULL 28%!  
I'm putting EVERY SINGLE item in my store on sale for that 28% off!  (Even my Back to School Packs that have been such a big hit!) *I'm up to 12 different themes now! (Sports, Monkeys, Mice, Pirates, Puzzles, Superheroes, Ocean, Owls, Frogs, Bees, Giraffes, and even Rock Stars!) The highlight of my very long day yesterday was when I received a TWEET from a teacher who has the Back to School PIRATE theme pack.  She said her kids had so much fun with the "Cannonball Battle" activity, but unfortunately they had lost a Cannonball in the room somewhere. HA! I've lost a few BANANAS in the Banana Battle too!  :-)

SO...speaking of Back to School FUN...let's have some!  If you leave me a comment GUESSING CORRECTLY what my classroom theme was YEARS AGO before I ever took on the monkeys, I will EMAIL YOU one of the Back to School Packs (YOUR CHOICE) FREE!  :-)
The first person who guesses, gets it!  GOOD LUCK!  

Bananas for some Back to School FUN,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Giveaway Winner & a New Job!

Yep, that says NEW JOB in the title.  After 22 years of teaching kids, I decided to step out of the classroom and embark on a brand new adventure.  I'm a new Literacy Coach in my district.  I'm SOOO excited that I will be spreading my wings a little bit and have the privilege of working with teachers, as well as some students.  I will give you the play by play, though, as I stepped into my classroom for the first time after being hired.  I looked at all my MONKEY STUFF everywhere and just started bawling like a baby!  At first I thought it was because I didn't even know where to begin trying to pack up 22 years of teaching, but it quickly became evident that it was the thought of NOT being in my classroom with my other little monkeys that really hit hard.  I picked myself up off the floor and began stuffing boxes full of memories.  It took awhile, but after packing my last monkey, I finally found myself excited about my new job, especially when I learned that I'd get to STAY in the same school.  I work with some amazing people and count my blessings each day that I get to work with such professionals.  Besides, I'm thinking my new office space will look cute with a few monkeys!  

THE WINNER, THE WINNER!  We have a winner in my 500+ follower giveaway!  CONGRATULATIONS to: Jennifer Knopf       
She's got some serious shopping to do!  :-)  Have fun, Jennifer!  

THANK YOU ALL for entering, sharing about your summer, and HANGING with me this long!  

Bananas for change that is sometimes a good thing,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Spotlight Saturday & Giveaway Ending Soon

Happy LAST "official" Saturday before I go back full time next week.  The back to school feel is in the air, huh?  The shelves are lined up with school supplies, the stores are lined up with clothing on sale, and teachers are scrambling in their classrooms to get their rooms ready!  My own kids start getting "bored"...a sure sign it's time!
Hopefully you can grab a few new freebies to add to your collection!  Check these out!
Mary @ Guided Math has some Math Word Wall Posters for you!   She has some for 2-D shapes, Flips, Slides, and Turns, Angles, Lines, Length,Edge, Face, Vertex, etc.  ALL free!  So if you're looking for some helpful math posters with great visuals, click on the images to grab.  They're even conveniently located in ONE spot.  Either image will get you there.

Need some quick and easy assessment strategies for your classroom? Visit Jennifer's blog called Runde's Room to get the scoop on the "Glow and Grow" strategy.  You'll need some yellow and green highlighters for students to show areas where they have "grown" or succeeded, and areas where they need some additional work.  This is a really cool self assessment tool for students to evaluate their own learning.  
I really love the Traffic LIght Comprehension Strategy she has available too!  It allows students to SAFELY let you know how they're doing on a project, assignment, worksheet, or whatever.  They simply mark their work with a green, yellow, or red dot as a private indicator for the teacher to view.  What a safe way for students to say "I NEED HELP with this or this was HARD for me."  You can easily sort papers into groups for some quick reteaching!  You can click either image to take you to her blog for a quick explanation and link to the freebies!  ENJOY!

Finally, don't forget to enter my 500+ giveaway celebration if you haven't. Click celebration image!  There's only a couple of days left!  THANK YOU so much for your support and encouragement!  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments.  You all have been BUSY this summer!  Enjoy what's left of it!

Bananas for back to school routines for my family, but NOT SO BANANAS for summer coming to a close.  How about you?



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