Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Blogger...Kristen

Hi everyone! I'm Kristin from My Carolina ClassroomI  just finished my first year of teaching and I'm a brand new blogger.  Darleen is kindly allowing me to take over for the day!  I want to share something I learned during my first year in the classroom. 

By the end of 2nd grade, all of my students knew the sign language alphabet and were using it daily. I'm not going to act like this was part of my master plan to enrich my students' learning; It was a TOTAL accident! In retrospect, teaching my students sign language was one of the best things that I accidentally-on-purpose did as a first-year teacher. It all started during word study. It was one of those days that I'm sure all first year (and veteran) teachers have. I was tired, I had a headache... and I had a brilliant idea. I pulled up and projected the sign language alphabet. We talked a little about how ASL (American Sign Language) is a different language. I paired up the students, pointed out the week's spelling and sight words, and said "go." My second graders spent 20 minutes signing words to their partners, who in turn had to figure out which spelling or sight word it was.
Just like that, my class was HOOKED! They begged me to do sign language every day. I printed each of them a copy of the alphabet and sometimes we practiced sign language as a brain break. My kids could not get enough. It was amazing to me how quickly they all picked up on it. It wasn't long before I could start incorporating sign language into our daily routines.

RAISED HANDS: When students raised their hands, they made a Q for a question, C for a comment, or an R for restroom. This was a major help to me, as I could avoid the storytellers when needed.

BATHROOM BREAKS: You know that awkward time when kids are done using the restroom and they have to stand in line silently and patiently? I would sign the name of someone standing the correct way in the hallway, and that student would raise his or her hand. We started with first names, then last, then middle. After they got the hang of it, I let the kids be in charge. (Once, I used this method to keep my class under control while waiting to be dismissed from an assembly. My administration was impressed!)

CHORAL RESPONSE: As you know, it's important to use choral response as much as possible so all students stay actively engaged. When we practiced multiple choice questions, I had students show me their answers by using sign language.

ATTENTION GRABBER: Occasionally I would use sign language to grab my students' attention at the start of a lesson. I would stand silently at the front of the room and use the ASL alphabet to slowly sign a sentence. The kids would sit still and quiet, trying to figure out what I was spelling.

LUNCH: When the cafeteria monitors decided to put the students on silent lunch due to noise level, my class got creative and began communicating to each other in sign language. My colleagues and I thought it was hilarious and couldn't decide if we should put a stop to it or not, because although the kids were communicating, they were technically being silent! Thank you so much for having me, Darleen and Darleen's readers! I hope that you find a way to use sign language in your classroom. Come by My Carolina Classroom anytime. :)

My Carolina Classroom


Saturday, June 14, 2014

You Oughta Know About...

I am linking up with Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for an awesome new blog hop!  Lots of bloggers are teaming up with Mrs. McClain to share tips, advice, websites, ideas, apps, and just about anything else they think fellow teachers "Oughta Know About"!  I am so excited to be part of this super, duper blog hop!

I am so excited to share with you my behavior plan.  In the past, I have always used colored cards.  You might know what I'm talking about: Green=awesome day, Yellow=okay kinda day (warning), Red=not a very good day (note sent home)---Does this sound familiar?? I must admit that I have used this system for the first 11 years of my teaching!   It worked for me and still works for many teachers.  I just feel that children today need to take ownership of their behavior & consequences.  About 6 years ago, my behavior plan began to change.  Today I use a clip chart system (Yes, you see them all over Pinterest).  I searched and searched the web looking for something different and stumbled upon the clip chart system. 

Here is how mine looks today!

Here is a close up of the chart (I changed the numbers)
Grab your FREE copy HERE

Students each have a clip (clothespin) with their classroom number. Everyone starts on "Spectacular Behavior" at the beginning of each week. Each behavior has a point value. The clip is moved according to the inappropriate behavior.  See the chart below.

Students start with 100 points at the beginning of each 9 week period and lose points throughout the semester. As you can see, the point values are not that harsh for 3rd graders.  As they move up in the grades (4th-8th), the point values begin to increase.  

Whew!!! That was a lot to tell!  I hope you learned something new and can use this type of behavior plan in your classroom.  To read my entire discipline plan, you can scan the QR code below.

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers who teamed up with Mrs. McClain's: You Oughta Know Blog Hop.  


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Monday Made-It

This is my first Monday Made-It with Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics of the summer.  At the beginning of May, I decided it was time to start a hobby.  Believe it or not, the only hobby I had was blogging! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE blogging! But...I have always wanted to make & design those precious sugar cookies.  I started on Pinterest first and searched for ideas on how to begin.  I watched tons of You Tube videos and stalked a lot of cookie blogs.  I was determined to make my own fancy cookies with royal icing.  I shopped at Michaels and bought all my supplies (Michaels gives teachers an additional 15% off of your total purchase!).  As of today, I have tried 3 different sugar cookie and 2 royal icing recipes.  I FINALLY found the recipes that work for me.  I am in total shock and awe at how I am doing with making cookies!  To this date, I have sold 5 dozen of cookies and made 2 cookie bouquets.  I have an appointment with a hair salon tomorrow for a cookie order and I have a cookie bouquet I need to make for Friday! My little hobby is awesome!  I am surprised at how much I have learned in such a short amount of time!  I love making and decorating cookies!  Who knew?!
So...I am linking up with Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics for a personal Monday Made It!  I hope to link up lots this summer with school and personal crafts! 
my first attempt

cheerleading camp

my niece's college graduation from SLU

Fleur de Lis

dance recital cookie bouquet

dance recital cookie bouquet

Nun Run 5k

End of the Year for my students

practice with flooding cookies

bathing suit practice

flowers for the Garden Club at school

 I am having the best time making and decorating cookies.  I'm not a professional yet, but I keep trying!!!  Don't forget to check out more Monday Made It projects with Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics!

Monday, May 19, 2014

~~Summer is Coming~~

6 more days...I can't believe this school year is almost over.  It seems like only yesterday it was the first day of school.  I am beyond ready for the summer, but I will truly miss my precious babies!  It is amazing how much they grew since August, not only academically but socially.  I wish all my students a very happy, safe, and blessed summer vacation--You deserve every minute of it!

I am still in awe at all of the awesome and amazing products  Creative Teaching Press has for Back-to-School.  All of the new products are due in CTP's warehouse any day!  Not only were you the first to see the new items, but you can be one of the first to receive them!  You can order your items now and have them shipped when they arrive in the warehouse.  Check them out (HERE) and place your order now!

I want to thank Creative Teaching Press for having me as one of their Exclusive Bloggers!  If you haven't checked out their website, please stop by and browse their online catalog.  You will be amazed at all of the products they offer for teachers!  I can't wait to get my hands on all of the new products and more!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

~~Winner of CTP Giveaway~~

I'm very excited to announce that my sweet friend Laura @ Love to Teach  won all of the amazing Creative Teaching Press products that I featured!!!  She will be one of the first teachers to get her hands on the new Back-to-School products before they are available for purchase! All products will be live online during the week of May 26th.  Please check out the new products (HERE).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guess who I met on Mother's Day in New Orleans???  Heather from Creative Teaching Press and the crew!!!  I had the chance to meet up with CTP at the International Reading Association Conference.  I was beyond thrilled to meet everyone!  I had the opportunity to check out the conference and watch the talented CTP crew in action!!!! all I'm going to say!!!!

Happy Mother's Day to everyone! I hope your day was filled with love and laughter! I want to wish my beautiful mom a very Happy Mother's Day.  You are always there when I need you!  Thank you for the countless hours you spent helping me make and wrap gifts for my students for the past 19 years.  Also, thank you for helping me with just about everything!!!! 

my beautiful, sweet mom with my crazy, awesome daughter

Sunday, May 4, 2014

~~Giveaway Time~~

Don't you just love all of the Creative Teaching Press Back-to-School products? I can't wait to get my hands on these products for next school year.  As a CTP Exclusive Blogger, I can share all of the new products with you.  I can even let you win a copy of EVERYTHING you see!  These new products are going live on the CTP website May 13th.  Why wait?  You can win them here!!

I am totally in LOVE with these chevron books!  I am definitely using them next school year!!

How cute are these cupcakes?!  

Can you say "Chalkboard Adorable"?! These will be perfect in any classroom!!!

OMG!  I can't contain myself with these letters!  I LOVE them all!!

Look at these awesome 5-Star Common Core Charts!

I'm in love with these borders and bulletin board set!

You can win EVERY product you see!  For chances to win, use the Rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more chances to win, enter at the following CTP Exclusive Blogger's Pages!


Monday, April 28, 2014

~~Sneak Peek from Creative Teaching Press~~

As a Creative Teaching Press Exclusive Blogger, I have first-hand knowledge and insider information about their NEW & EXCITING Back-to-School products!! Of coarse....I would LOVE to share everything with you, BUT....I'm sworn to secrecy!  I can give you a sneak peek at a few things!  Are you ready???   You can say you saw them here first (they are not even available online for purchase)!  Come see me again next week, I just might post a few more products with you and host a giveaway too!!!!


Aren't you just totally, positively in complete awe with the chevron lesson plan book?!  I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!!! cute are those bright letters?!  I bet any classroom would look great with these on the walls!

I hope you are as excited as I am about CTP's NEW PRODUCTS!  Check back next week, I have more products to "leak out"!  Who may even be able to win a few of these new products too!

If you want to see more, hop on over to The Adventures of Miss Elisabeth, Diary of a First Grade Teacher.  She has 2 more Back-to-School products to share with you!!!!

The Adventures of Miss Elisabeth

Saturday, April 12, 2014

~~So much News~~

Oh my ...I have been so bad to my little blog!   My life has been super crazy for the last few months. Where do I even start?!   First of all, I enjoyed a family vacation to Disney World during our Mardi Gras break.  Mom and Dad came with us and had a blast.   Spending time with them was great and so many memories were made at Disney.  I must say....My absolute favorite characters are Mike and Sully!!!!  I couldn't wait to meet them!!!  Here are a couple of pictures from Disney.

  Mardi Gras Day with Mike & Sully

Mom & Dad looking precious

Dinner with Tigger & the gang

Now...for some sad news...I made the decision to leave my current school and will not return in August.   A lot of thought and prayer went into my choice, and I have mixed emotions about leaving.  There were several deciding factors that went into play on why I am leaving.  But, I do know that I'm very excited and sad at the same time.  To be honest, I am very upset about leaving my team in 3rd grade, especially Laura.  We have worked together for the last 5 years and became very close.  We know everything about each other, we're like sisters.   When Judy joined our team this school year, I knew that she would fit right in with us!  Judy was in 1st grade last year and moved up to 3rd this year.  The 3 of us rock 3rd grade!!  I am going to miss my buddies dearly!!!  And if you are wondering...NO, I do not have a job lined up for August.  I am still looking and hoping to find a job soon. I am open to whatever challenge God puts into my path, teaching related or not.

Some VERY overwhelming and exciting news...I am officially a Creative Teaching Press Exclusive Blogger.  I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with CTP and their awesome products.  I just received my first package in the mail this week.  Check out all of the products I get to preview and try in my classroom. Today my precious students were able to make "cootie catchers" or fortune tellers in math.  We have been learning about perimeter and area so I was ecstatic to see a fortune teller math book in the package.  Guess what??  There was one on data and perimeter. The look on every one's face was priceless when I told them we were making "cootie catchers".  They had no idea what I was talking about until someone yelled out, "You mean fortune tellers?"  LOL  My students had an awesome time playing with their fortune tellers.  They even played them during recess outside!!!!  Definitely a hit with my class!!!

Look at these awesome products I get to try out

area & perimeter cootie catchers

Whew....that was super long for a post!  I can't wait to share more Creative Teaching Press product reviews with you soon!!!  Keep checking back!!!

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