Saturday, August 18, 2012

"I Make a Difference..."

I'm sure we've all seen or read the poem "I Make a Difference" when a teacher is asked at a dinner party what they make. I came across this video on pinterest, and I absolutely loved the way the graphics are and the rhythm of hearing Taylor Mali read his own poem.

So true, fellow teachers! We do make a difference. And sometimes we get so bogged down with all of the things we are responsible for, that we forget the big picture.  

Check out the video below... it's a quick one, just about 3 minutes. I think you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Almost there!

So, there's only 7 days until I officially go back to work, even though I've been in my classroom a lot this summer. Thankfully, my room is looking pretty good! I've still got a to-do list that's pretty long, but most of it is stuff I can't do until I have my class list. Unfortunately we still don't have those... and it sounds like 5th grade is pretty impacted at our school and we all might start with more than 33, which is supposed to be our cap. This has happened in the past, so I've started making sure I have at least 35 or 36 of important supplies. I hate being left one short on something!

My school is TRIBES school, so each classroom has to have a bulletin board with the TRIBES agreements. I created these for a pop of color.

And I'm also a huge Sharks fan, so I like to have some fan memorabilia up. That's my favorite player, Ryane Clowe, in the picture.

This is part of my classwork/homework station. I really liked the idea of having the kids highlight their name, and I got the tags for the homework bins from Clutter-Free Classroom!

On my white board, I like to section off a part of it with blue painter's tape to create a homework section. I like to have it big and visible for all the students to see.

All of the tags I put on magnets so I can switch them out when I don't have a particular subject as part of the homework.

I also do the same thing for my daily schedule, preps (specials), and calendar. Unfortunately, I don't have those portions done yet!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Linky Party

I'm linking up with Lindsay at My Life as a Third Grade Teacher to talk about the things I desperately need for Reading and Writing Workshop! And since school starts in T-minus 18 days, I have to really narrow this down. I don't have a super structured RW or WW time like I did a few years ago when I taught second and third grade, but even teaching 5th, I do like to give my students time to read amazing novels and become great writers.

Reader's Workshop

#1 - An easily accessible library. I used to level my library, and I've also tried sorting it by genre. My main problem has always been that no matter how I start it off at the beginning of the year, it slowly becomes a mess. This year, I've organized my library pretty simply... alphabetically by the author's last name. I bought the wonderful tags from Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files and I absolutely love how it looks. 

#2 - A three subject notebook for every student. I like having the three divided spaces which I have the students devote to these three things: mini-lessons, comprehension, and reading observations. The first two are for what I direct, and the last is where the students can jot down notes about whatever they are reading.

#3 - Post It notes, or sticky notes, as my students call it. I make sure each student has a pack, that way they can make notations in their book, ask questions, look up words... I'm constantly amazed at how useful post it notes truly are. 

#4 - Bookmarks, highlighter, pencil, and eraser.... I think those are pretty obvious!

#5 - Sometimes my RW is when the students get to read whatever they want... and other times it's with a novel we are reading as a class. 5th grade has a lot of awesome literature and my current favorites are: Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone and the Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson (specifically the first novel: Chains). 

Writer's Workshop

#1 - Another three subject notebook which my students divide by: mini-lessons, vocabulary & spelling, and grammar.

#2 - A black and white composition notebook. This is the journal my students use in class, for Quickwrites or power writes (A concept I recently came across in Jeff Anderson's 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know). 

#3 - A plastic folder with pockets and a fasteners. I usually give the students a variety of handouts that I want them to keep with them whenever they are working on a writing piece whether it be a story or an essay. I'm a huge fan of Five Star folders, and I'm always looking for a deal on them. 
Mead® Five Star® Stay-Put Folder (Item # 34030)34030

#4 - Post it notes! Love them! They are great for editing and revising.

#5 - Pencil, highlighter, and a blue pen. I like my students to use blue pens when they are in the revising stage, as it lets them see things clearly. I've used red in the past, but I've found that the blue doesn't look as drastic. 

#6 - Music. I love playing classical music while my class is writing. I alternate between Bach, Beethoven, Pachibel ... as long as it is soothing. My students always ask for pop music, but I only play that during art time. Writing takes a lot of thinking, and classical music helps them relax. 

What about everyone else? Any must haves?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I have to say, I'm really loving creating files for my Teacher's Notebook shop, especially using Powerpoint! I might be a total nerd, but I love making more creative ways to display the information we all seem to need.

I just uploaded some Welcome Signs for grades K-12. 

The picture above will take you to the file where you can see a few examples. I'm also thinking of creating one for those of us who teach specific subjects. If you have a certain subject you'd like to see included leave me a comment below!

Friday, August 3, 2012


I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade and as summer comes to a close, here's my Currently...

I still have three weeks until I have to report back to school, officially, though I've been in there sporadically organizing as much as I can. I'm meeting up with a grade level teammate next week to start planning. It's officially the end of summer.