Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Craft Project Ideas & A Little Bragging!

Hi Folks!

How the heck are you?!?  I think about you often...I haven't forgotten about you!!!!

School is in full swing.  Have I ever told you that I always think about switching grade levels for the first two weeks of first grade?  I'm sure I've told you that before because I think it every single year! This year was no different.  Those little buggers just test the waters those first few days and it always makes me quiver and quake and wonder if I'm ever going to restore order in my classroom!?!?

Then it happens. They figure it out.  They realize you mean business and they remember {pretty much} what school is all about.  Then I can't imagine teaching any other grade.

So, I came home one day last week and I was tuckered...couldn't even think or see straight.  Found- the-peanut-butter-in-the-freezer tired.  The doorbell rang and the UPS man handed me a happy little package.  Of course I didn't remember ordering anything, but that's nothing new, and I didn't order anything - this was a complete and total surprise from CraftProjectIdeas.com.  Those sweet folks thought it was due time to send me some goodies.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect!!!

I use these EVERYWHERE in my classroom.
These puppies are STRONG and even hold up construction paper!

See all those magnet buttons?

Are these not the cutest little things?  Strong too!
More magnet buttons - and see those cutie pie suction cups
holding up my place value chart?
What? More buttons you say?
I use this one to show what our
noise level should be.

Are you a clothespin snob?
I am and these pass the test.
They don't fall apart easily at all!
They work like butter, I say, like buttah...

I already have plans for these during Daily 5!
Word work, baby!

Can't wait to fill this cart with new word work activities!

This chalkboard is perfect to put our new sight words for the week.
I have this hanging on our focus board.

You can see why my toes tickle whenever CraftProjectIdeas.com sends me these awesome gifts!  If I were to choose two favorites from the box it would definitely be {can you guess?} the magnet buttons and the suction cups!  HA!  My students will LOVE the other stuff more; I'm sure!

And I have to do some bragging here because this group is just filled with dynamos!!!!

That was after only TWO days of working on stamina!
We do something called Math Workplaces.  This time of the day can get a little loud.  The kids are almost always engaged - they love the math tubs, but the noise level can sky rocket.  They have been doing such a great job I just had to brag on them!
Sorting plastic bugs 

Bugs On Board {game with coordinates}

Geoboards - see all those awesome math planners?
My kiddos are doing such a great job recording where they've been
and understand where they need to go!

Which Numeral Will Win? A game played with a loaded spinner!

Awesome pattern block creations!

Polydrons - always a class favorite!
Yes, I love first grade - there, I said it and by golly, I MEAN it!

Happy almost Thursday!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Parent Curriculum Night

Hey Guys!

I bet so many of you are back in the swing of things - I almost envy you, as I sit here watching Kelly & Michael...sipping my coffee.  I really do.  Once school starts I find myself wishing that I was beyond all the back-to-school craziness.  I wish my students knew the Room 8 gig and we were past all that.  Since we start after Labor Day I still have some sleepless night ahead of me!!!

We all know how important it is to establish relationships with not just our students, but their families as well. Inevitably you will encounter many a bump and bruise as you navigate through the school year.  Having established an open line of communication with the families is critical.  If your parents understand that you are coming from a place of concern and care they are better able to hear you when you call with a behavioral or academic concern.  

At my school we have a Meet & Greet before school starts.  This is a time for students to see their new digs, meet the teacher and see their parents interact with the adult they are soon to spend the bulk of their days with - their teacher.  This is an "open house" type deal - so parents come and visit for a few minutes and then head out to the PTA ice cream social afterward.  

I created this little ditty for my Meet & Greet and thought I'd share it with you {if you haven't already picked it up on my Facebook page}.

Gum not included ;)
A couple of weeks after school starts we do our grade level curriculum night.  This is a parent-only event at my school.  I know sometimes it's hard to get parents there if they can't bring their child with them - it's best to do with the parents' undivided attention, but if the kids need to come - I say, let 'em come!

Here's how we run our curriculum night:

6:30-7:00

We meet in the cafeteria as a grade level.  Meeting together is a great way to show parents that you are a team, a village - and you're all in this little adventure together.  We start by introducing ourselves {each member of our team}.  It's nice to share a little about yourself...something that makes you seem human to them.

Next, we head into curriculum - this year we're using this great freebie template from Ladybug's Teacher Files.


This PowerPoint will help our team stay focused on what we want to cover in terms of curriculum.  Each one of us takes a curricular area to discuss with our parents.  Included on each slide is a word or two to help us remember what it is we'd like to share.  When speaking with parents we elaborate enough to help them have a basic understanding.

Template from Ladybug's Teacher Files - white words are typed in by teacher
I also have a personal classroom website that goes further in depth on curriculum, provides links of the common core standards, etc.  There's so much to cover in a 30 minute time period, we try to touch on the basics.  Having this same information readily available in one place {my website} reassures them that they don't have to feel overwhelmed, they can just sit and absorb as much as they can, and then visit my website to delve deeper or use as a reference.

I use TeacherWeb - it is $39 dollars a year and so easy to use!
I've been using TeacherWeb for 8 years...
7:05-7:35

Once we've shared the nuts & bolts of the curriculum we move down to our own classrooms for the final 30 minutes.  


Each year I have this little poem and apple sitting on the tables...


Freebie from Primary Press

This year, I'll be adding this sweet little freebie from Rowdy in Room 300...it's a great way to share a little about yourself.  Sometimes {how about all the time} I feel so hurried, I dive right into classroom procedures, and forget to share even one thing about myself.  Having this on the tables will help me to remember to SLOW down!!!!!

Click the picture to get yours free from Nicole!
I will write student names on each one so that I
 know who was there and who wasn't.
After I've shared a little about myself I dive right into my Room 8 Handbook.  This is available to parents on my class website so I don't print anything out from this handbook {trees are singing right now}.  I do not have this available to you, but you can see it {here} for ideas.


I display this PDF on my SmartBoard and go through each slide {and "in a nutshell" it}with the parents.  This handbook just provides the ins and outs of my classroom and my quirky-ness.  

I'm getting all techie this year and putting this little guy on each table...

The QR code will take them directly to our class website. I'm going to have parents {who can}
put this right on their iPhone home screen right then and there!

I like to save a few minutes at the end where parents can ask questions, introduce themselves and hopefully grab a sticky note from our door that has an item we "wish" for, for our classroom.  I don't have a picture of it, but I have the word "WISH" up on my classroom door...on colorful sticky notes I write different items that our class needs/wants.  I keep this up all year long.  Whether my door is open or closed {rarely} the parents can see our wishes and grab a sticky note.  

Hope you found this post useful.  If you have any cool ways you run your parent curriculum night I really would love for you to share!

Happy back to school...







Friday, August 15, 2014

Meet Trashy Crafter! {Sneak peek at my classroom too!}


Happy Friday - but really, is there such a thing when you are a teacher during the summer?  I was just thinking about that this morning.  It's all about perspective.  Give me a Friday in November, and I'm all about it.  TGIF! Give me a Friday in the summer - especially AUGUST - and I'm thinking "Fridays in the summer are reminders that another week has flown by..."  Alright, enough of that half empty garbage.  I *am* slightly geared up for the start of another great school year...see...



So, if you remember, I'm doing a little giveaway with Kim over at The Trashy Crafter. 




 You can enter {here} if you haven't already!


We thought we'd do a little Q & A to help you get to know her better. I was so tickled by her story and I'm sure you will be too!

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

My name is Kim Franklin, and I am the person behind Trashy Crafter, along with my Mom Helen and my boyfriend Dave.  We create jewelry from damaged books and repurposed beads from broken necklaces. I have a full time job, and work on Trashy Crafter before and after work and on the weekends.  My goal is to pay off my student loan in the next two years. 

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO MAKE RECYCLED LIBRARY BOOK JEWELRY?

My Grandma taught me about crafts.  She, herself, was a crafter and passed down to me all I know.  It was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Bryant, that taught me how to roll paper beads.  We made magazine and newspaper beads. 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE ONE PIECE OF JEWELRY?

It really depends on the type of paper; some books have really thick pages, these take much longer, some have thin pages, these take really long because we have to double or triple the paper for the bead.   On average a 3 piece bracelet set can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. 

DO YOU THINK YOU AND YOUR "TRASHY CRAFTING" IS CHANGING THE WORLD?

I really do, my goal is to not only make people think differently about waste, but also to embrace the past and memories associated with it.  The world is so fixated on the future that it seems people forget to reflect and remember, and I think that my jewelry not only helps with the worlds waste, it also give people joy and happiness in a hectic world.  A person can remember a book their Mother or Grandmother read to them, or a book that changed their life, or a map from a road trip etc.  It's a huge honor to be the person bringing happiness and memories to the world :)

DO YOU ACCEPT DONATIONS? HOW WOULD PEOPLE DO THAT?

I do accept donations of popular children's books, novels or even maps. And also accept donations of broken bracelets and necklaces for repurposing in my jewelry.  If you would like to donate, shoot me an email at trashycrafter@gmail.com, often times if you have something I could really use I will give you a free thank you gift :)

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING JEWELRY?

Well, I have been crafty since I could hold scissors and not eat the Elmer's glue, and have made jewelry all my life.  I used to be more into the hemp making jewelry as a child and teenager, but love making recycled book beads.  What I love most about jewelry is the ability to be playful with the colors, textures and patterns of the beads, it's my favorite part of the process to pick out the used beads from the swap meet and created the jewelry when the book beads are finished. 

YOU MAKE JEWELRY FROM RECYCLED LIBRARY BOOKS, YOU MUST BE AN AVID READER, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME?  

That's really hard, I was always a weird kid in that I preferred to read history books and biographies about successful people, LOL.   I do love Dr. Seuss, my Grandma bought the monthly book club membership for me, and I LOVED getting a new one in the mail each week.  I would have to say Hop on Pop!   My favorite books now are all marketing and business books, I nerd out on stuff from Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin and Napoleon Hill. 

Thanks so much, Kim, for sharing a little bit about yourself.  I hope my readers are just as touched with your story as I was.  I'm really looking forward to wearing my bracelets to school and sharing their meaning with my teacher friends!  You thought business was booming before...you just wait until my staff hears about you and your sweet, sweet bracelets!

If you haven't entered...take a few minutes to do that now. I made it really easy!!!  Just a few clicks and you're entered!  

Happy Friday! {Or is it....}


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Trashy Crafter - Product Review & Giveaway!

Hi All!

I'm pretty sure it's a given that I love to read - have you met a teacher who doesn't? I started reading to my own boys from day one...when they were inside my belly.  Whenever I would read Dr. Seuss to my students BOTH my boys would start kicking like crazy...no kidding.  When Kim emailed me asking if I would be interested in reviewing her jewelry and shared the story behind her love for being a Trashy Crafter I honestly didn't even have to think about it and I knew EXACTLY which set I wanted because of its significance in my life.

This set was made from the story Fox in Socks
Photo Source: Trashy Crafter

This Dr. Seuss recycled bracelet set is made from damaged or outdated library or thrift store books, along with repurposed broken necklace beads. All of our bracelets are 100% recycled, and therefore are unique and one of a kind, once this set is sold it's gone forever. We hand cut, roll, coat and spray all of our book beads we use for our jewelry in sunny San Diego California.  ~Source:  Etsy

I couldn't wait for my order to arrive!


Seriously, could this packaging be any cuter?!?



There's just something about their mission that touches my heart.  I don't know about you, but I have a VERY hard time putting any books in the garbage.  No matter how torn or tattered they are - missing pages and everything - I just can't stand to place a book in the garbage can.  To think....this book and others are SAVED from the circular file!!!!



The silliest story - when I read this story to my own kids and my first grade students I tell them to keep track of how many times my tongue gets twisted.  I always try to beat my record... I've never been able to read that story without making at least one mistake...but I tell you, I'm FAST!!!!!!

I could just hug Kim and her mom for their creativity and love for books!


Kim and her mom do take custom orders if you have a certain book you love you can send it to them in the mail and they can make the jewelry for you from the book, map, sheet music, letter, children's drawing - anything as long as it's paper, really.  They also take custom orders if you don't have the book.  They order the most damaged book with that title from Amazon and use that to make their jewelry.  If you are interested please contact them at TrashyCrafter@gmail.com  


I can't wait to wear it to school and tell everybody the significance behind these bracelets {remember my babies who kicked like crazy in my belly when they heard a Dr. Seuss story?!?}.  

I slyly asked my bestest friend whose birthday was in March what her kids favorite books were...they loved and still love Kevin Henkes.  Guess what I'm going to order for a belated birthday present?  How special will that be?!?  I'm  also thinking end of the year teacher gift for my son's teacher...this just might be my "signature gift"... it's so unique and something I've never seen before.  I just love it and I bet you do too.

Lucky you...because Kim is giving away one 2 piece bracelet set to one of you!!!!  I'm hoping YOU win...but just in case your luck is like mine, she is also offering 15% off good for anything in her Etsy shop for the duration of the giveaway week. Just use this code:  tc2014

If you're wanting to check things out you can find the Trashy Crafter in lots of different places:

Instagram: Trashy Crafter



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!  Check back later to learn more about Kim and her Trashy Crafter story!  It'll touch your teacher heart!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher {Linky}

Hey Guys,


I'm linking up with my bloggy buddy, Stephanie over at Falling Into First , to share a little about myself!  My husband calls me Mrs. Kravitz for good reason - I'm super nosy, so something like this gets me all giddy...if you go check out the party, you can get a sneak peek into other bloggers'  lives.


I'm Holly, and I'm a Momma {Zach, 12 & Brandon, 9 1/2}, Wife {Patrick - who is also a teacher} Teacher {This is my 16th year in First Grade} Friend {I'm blessed with some good ones} and Michigan teacher-blogger.  I wear lots of other hats, but these are some pretty important ones to me.  We are a sports family...baseball, basketball, football, soccer...you name it, and I'm washing the clothes for it!!!!

We love to be silly and have fun!
We spend a lot of time together as a family!  My boys are best friends {Although they like to tell you how much they argue...}.  We still eat family dinners every single night and talk A LOT.  Although we are very busy, we make every effort to stay connected that way...even if it means we have to eat dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon {My friends call us "geriatric"...I resemble that remark! HA!}.  We love exploring our wonderful state of Michigan and go up north every summer.  Mostly, we are homebodies....we could spend the day together doing a whole bunch of nothing and end the day with a smile on our faces!!!!


THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...

Public radio, my Fitbit, talking on the phone, Flair pens, cute planners, Target, Donut Shop Coffee, Netflix, Instagram, blog stalking!

IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?

Aside from always wanting to be a stay at home mom...honestly, there was nothing else I wanted to be...I've wanted to be a teacher since first grade and have never wanted to be anything else. Okay, I take that back, I'd love to invent something cool...

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.

Empathetic. Loyal. Funny.

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"

I am ALL caught up...

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?

Ellen

Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?

~ Uneventful is Good ~ 
Life through the eyes of a small town mom

Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?

Wiggle my nose like Sam on Bewitched

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world..." ~Gandhi

Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Trust me - you don't want me to sing...
Alright, fine - Love Shack

Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?

Night owl - no doubt about it!

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?

By far my Nonfiction Writing unit...


Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU!

 I'm a super intuitive kinda person - I totally vibe off people.  I can feel others happiness and pain sometimes so much that it feels like my own.  I kinda feel like Powder...

If you haven't seen this movie - it's an oldie but a GOODY...oh my goodness...LOVE!
If you want to link up or want to check out some other bloggers...head on over!


Wake Up!!!!
{Totally kidding - that was riveting, right?}

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Celebrating Little Readers' Small Accomplishments *Freebie*

Hi All!

I just got back from a meeting with a colleague of mine and our principal.  Talk about diving right back into it! Being our School Improvement Chairs means we're right in the thick of it.  I have definitely had to leave my comfort zone - we handle a lot of our school's PD.  My friend and I used to affectionately refer to ourselves as "Dumb & Dumber" but after today's meeting, I tell you - I think she and I rock it out! HA! School is going to start really soon people, REALLY soon!

I did poke my head into my classroom before I left.  I don't know if that was such a good idea.  If you remember, I'm switching from desks to tables and that just has me all jittery inside.  The only furniture that looked the same was my trusty kidney bean shaped reading table.  

Which got me thinking about this new product I created for my classroom that I wanted to be sure to share with you.

It's on sale now for only $4!!! Can't beat that!
As teachers of the little ones we know just how fragile their little skills are.  Even those who come to us already reading have to rise to the challenge of bigger thinking {inferring, mental images, connections, finding evidence}.  I try to boost their egos as often as I can along the way.  I find myself reaching for a sticky note to jot down something one of my first graders did well at the reading table or during our conferring time and either they are someplace else or I can't find a marker.  So, my best of intentions always seem to be thwarted.

My plan is to have these mini rewards at my fingertips so that I can just pick one, use it to celebrate learning and to reinforce a specific skill.  I tried to include the littlest of accomplishments because it's these foundational skills that really impact a child's ability to read.


I made six on a page, they are pretty small and come in a boy version, girl version as well as black and white.  Super easy to print, cut and put in a cute container...keep 'em right at your reading table so they are there when you need 'em!

I'm putting mine in this pencil box


Handy dandy - at the ready!

So simple!!!! {Remember, they come in black and white too if you're conserving ink like me!}


Click to pick up your label!!!

Have fun celebrating your readers small accomplishments!






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