Saturday, September 28, 2013

Me and My World

Rainy days are always a good excuse to blog (not that I need an excuse) and today it's raining cats and dogs at my house! So, I spent a little time today blog hopping to some of my favorite teacher spots. It always inspires me to see what other teachers are up to and I must admit that it makes me feel a little (well, a lot) guilty that I have been so behind on my post. I really don't have a good excuse other than- life happens. 

My sixth graders are up and running and I am so proud of the way they have adjusted to middle school. We have survived the first fire drills, learning to change classes eight times a day, the lunch line, the pick-up line, conquered combination locks, completed a successful "fun" raiser and yes, we are rockin' the social studies skills!

We started off our year with "Me and My World"-  a fun activity I created to introduce my students to geography and to some of the skills that I want them to master for my class such as; defining the difference between physical and human geography, learning to work in pairs, organizing information, following directions, shading maps and producing a creative project. The finished projects helped me get to know my students better and they make a great bulletin board display for open house. Here are some of my favorites!

Click the link below to download this lesson from my tpt store!

While you are blog hopping today, be sure to check out the new "I Love Clipart" link on my page! It is so much fun to find creative and colorful clip art just for teachers! 

Happy fall!
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Madness

It's Interactive Notebook time again! Seems like just yesterday we were setting up last year's INB's. Wow, time flies. Call me crazy, but I just finished covering 113 composition books with clear contact paper for my precious sixth grade social studies students. I know, I know, I am insane! But, seriously for me, it's a labor of love. I realize that some teachers let the students cover them (tried that and wasted lots of paper and class time) and others choose not to cover them at all (personal choice), but it's worth it to me to spend a few hours (four exactly) to protect their colorful cover collages for many years to come. Think of it as preserving history, creating a legacy, or just protecting intellectual property- however you look at it, it just makes for sensational social studies! Students bring magazine pictures from home reflecting geographical, historical, cultural, political or economical themes. We glue the pictures onto the front and back covers of the composition books during one class period (fun day). I use "Con-Tact" brand clear removable paper with a matte sheen to cover them. I purchased mine at Walmart and Target for about $5.per roll. I used about one roll per 25 notebooks. Here are some of my favorite covers so far. Feel free to share these ideas with your students who might need a little inspiration.

My students LOVE working in their Interactive Notebooks! Creating an original cover design allows them to express themselves from a world view perspective, explore and organize ideas and take ownership and pride in their learning. 

Note: I try to collect some old magazines during the summer for students who may not have them at home. Hint: check with your librarian at the end of the school year for old issues that she is about to toss!

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Remind 101

One year ago, I tried a free text-messaging service for teachers that revolutionized the way I communicate with my students and parents. I had always relied totally on written correspondence to get the word out about important events and announcements, but let's face it- the world is texting! I considered using texting, but didn't like the idea of students or parents having my private cell number and I certainly didn't want 120 students responding to my text. Thanks to Pinterest, I found out about Remind101 and my first impression was, "this sounds too good to be true" and "nothing is ever free". I am glad to say that I was wrong!  used it all year with my classes and it worked! The parents loved it and one year later, it is still free! I am thrilled that many of the teachers on my new campus are also hooked on Remind101, which makes me happy, happy, happy! What are you waiting for- start texting and teaching!

Click the link below for a short video about how Remind101 can work for you!
Click Here To Learn More

Until next time- 
Happy texting!
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Monday, September 2, 2013

The Finished Product

Happy Labor Day! I hope that everyone was able to get a second wind and enjoy a long weekend with family and friends. Although I had the best intentions of sharing the excitement of the first few days of school with you (in real time), I quickly realized that opening a brand new school is a whole new kind of crazy! I am just now coming up for air and finding time to blog! I can't wait to share the pictures of my new classroom with you. I hope you like my new space as much as I do! I am so blessed to have such a beautiful place to teach. After waiting all summer with anticipation, the construction crew finally moved out and we moved in to our brand new school on August 17. It came down to the wire, but we managed to open the doors for open house on August 25, (my birthday) and school opened for students on August 26. What a magical day! 

What my classroom looked like two weeks ago! A blank canvas!
I have lots of spots! I made this sign for my door and I just love the re-positionable spots I found a Hobby Lobby.

Welcome to Room 141- that's the spot for Social Studies!
The teacher's spot!
Wild about my new desk
A spot for my books!
I love my chevron baskets and cubbies for storage!
Colorful pennants are the perfect alternative to a curtain. I love how the chevron, zebra and dots come together here.
My favorite spot! 
This is one my student's favorite places to work.
A spot for reading about the world! 
Oh, the places in the world we will go this year!
This book rack was being tossed out by someone else and it made a perfect addition to my reading spot. One teacher's trash is certainly another teacher's treasure.

Supply caddies ready for group work!
Supply Center
Cork strips for hanging student work.
Motivational spot!
Word Wall- GRAPES for Social Studies
Artifacts from around the world. I love my chevron crate benches.
Magnetic Name Plate for my desk and of course, more spots.
I love my new room!

Have a great week and remember to be SENSATIONAL!
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