Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting Spacey!

As I mentioned in my last post, going with a classroom theme is kind of a rule-breaker for me... but I'm having too much fun! I put on my alien headband that I made and got to work.
See? I told you space was kind of my thing... It's all over my house!
My first projects, if you didn't catch them, were my Voice Levels chart and name plates:
Click to download!
Click to download!
Then I added my new Scrappin Doodles clipart to my classroom rules, too. 
Click to download!
Now for some new ideas. I found an excellent post about Super Improver Walls here, and it finally clicked! The different names and colors for each level overwhelmed me at first, but not when they're spacey!
Click to download! 
Each student starts off on the first level and must earn 10 points to move to the next level. I will use foil stars to keep track of the points on colored card stock stars, like Mrs. Shipley advised in her video tutorial. Students earn points by showing improvement in behavior AND academics. Their improvement goals will become very differentiated and meaningful as they redefine what "growth" means for them. Genius!

When the student collects 10 stickers on their colored star they get to take it home and travel to the next planet, or level. I'm so tickled that my levels, including the sun and our moon, makes for an even 10!

The neatest part about the Super Improver Wall (gotta get on board with the acronyms... The SIW) is the photo op at certain levels, denoted on my version with a picture of a satellite.
On this level I take a picture of the student with some friends and put it under their star. The picture is posted FACE DOWN. The student must advance off of Earth in order to take the picture home.

I think my SIW will be a tremendous metaphor for my kiddos as they track their personal growth. Mrs. Amanda even suggested that if you run out of levels, add more! There are so many possibilities... comets, far-away planets, galaxies, nebulae...

The Orion Nebula has always been my favorite to look at.

My last new idea has to do with my tables. I have trapezoid tables this year, and I'll probably put them together so I have groups of 6 students at a "table".

I want to have an icon at each spot to use when giving directions, getting supplies, and dismissing from tables, even. If I need someone to get paper for their table I could call out an icon and away they go.

I would run the icons off on colored paper (they'll be colored inside, of course, not white). I really hope this system works because I want to give students many opportunities to be helpful and "in charge" of something instead of relying on one or two kids a week as a classroom job. 

I also ran to the toy store yesterday and got a space puzzle for my 100 Days of School project:

And last, but not least, is a new friend. I've been keeping him in the back of my head for a month now and today I finally got him. 

Meet NomNom. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Breaking Rules!

I took all summer to get crafty... and that's far too late! I'm back in a *new* classroom this week and with the new space I'm breaking some old rules in this Monday Made It.

I scored big at some garage sales two Saturdays ago and found a rocking chair for $10, among other things.

I never thought I would be a rocking-chair-gal! I always thought they took up too much room and made me look like I was on a throne. When I saw this one, however, I thought I would shed this rule, even though I'm in a tiny portable. Besides, the kiddos will think it is SO cool to sit in it for sharing or whatnot, right? 

I think it's cool with a new purple paint job and... wait for it... GLITTER!!! Which is another rule-breaker... never was into the stuff until now. I know, I know... I'm weird.

Sealed on with spray gloss, of course! There will be no glitter on my booty, I hope!

My next craft breaks yet another rule... classroom themes. I cheered out loud during a training when Debbie Diller advised to stay away from cluttered themes in favor of choosing one or two colors for classroom decor. I've always thought themes were silly and prided myself on the matchy-matchy color scheme I used instead.

Well, my new campus is adopting a school-wide theme of "Reading Takes You Places." There's tons of options for hallway bulletin boards and fun pet-names for things relating to this theme. I already knew I was going to recreate this board from my very first year...
Maybe I'll say something like, "Ms. Bueno's Class is going places!" instead
And I got to thinking... I LOVE space! It's always been a motif in my life so why not *finally* in my classroom? So I ran out... clicked over?... and got some clipart from Scrappin' Doodles and started on plugging my new theme in...

My Voice Levels Chart:
Click to download!
Student name plates:
Click to download!

And more to come!

I also have been mulling over what I would use this year as a visual for the kiddos when I am busy with a small group or testing. I'm learning that themes can make some decisions easier!

Alien headband! 
I can't help putting it on throughout the day and looking at myself in the mirror. I can already hear the kiddos saying, "my teacher is an ALIEN!!!"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thrifty Thursday!

I couldn't celebrate all things thrifty without checking out a garage sale! So last Saturday I ran around to ONLY 3... I must have passed 5 more though to get there! Saturdays are crazy!

Check out my hoard for... get this... $30!!!

So tickled that I'll finally be a teacher with a rocking chair! I thought I would never get one... but after seeing this $10 bargain I'm inspired to give it some TLC and a place in my classroom.

I saw a garage sale ad on Craigslist with these little guys
(that I HAD to have for "5 Green and Speckled Frogs")  and found...
...a HUGE collection of books. Here's my favorite steals!
These things are so much fun! If there's not enough for a center
maybe they can be used as an early-finisher activity.
I think the lady to sold me these was sad to see them go... but they'll be loved, for sure! 

Can't wait to go again this weekend!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Made It!

Yay! I finally get to participate in all the crafting linking-up-ness!

I've been hunting around thrift stores lately and I finally found a mini-muffin pan! So I chopped up those well-loved crayons from last year and made some new ones!

I enlisted the boyfriend to help me unwrap them all and he used his grey matter to find the utility knife to slice off the paper! Genius! Especially since I have a whole bag-full left to unwrap.
Chopped up and ready to go!
 I may have left them in a little too long, but they sure look cool!

I also made a SUPER CUTE gift for my girl's night this week. I'm meeting with the ladies from my old school 150 miles away (I moved this summer). This will be my last night playing Pokeno with them and here's my present to some lucky winner, maybe me!

It came out so nicely!!

First the stickers...
... then spray it down.
I made the mask separately by layering glitter and spray gloss on a cardboard cutout. 
Then I hot-glued the sparkly-cuteness on!

Wish me luck so I can win it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday!

Now that August is around the corner I've definitely caught the shopping bug. I should probably live in Target. Dollar Tree has had some good finds, too. But the real fun is hunting around in Goodwill and Salvation Army!

I've always loved going to thrift stores. You'll never know what kind of gems you'll find and excavating them from shelves is half the fun. Dangerous work, too, though. I had a huge wooden mask fall and crash at my feet. And I wasn't even picking in that area!

Take a look at my latest finds!
A sweet painted treasure box for reward smellies and a tin box for magnetic letters!

ANCIENT compact cameras for... something. Maybe read the room, or science observations, or just plain fun?
When I saw these I knew I had to have them, but had no idea what they were used for. I guessed that they would be fun for the kiddos to balance or even sit on, but when I tried my tush was way too much for it! Apparently they're used underneath the hands and feet for a core balance workout.
They'll be used for SOMETHING!

I was also tickled to find a crock pot for $6 and a pair of old-fashioned beaters! Can't wait to make applesauce again in class. I used First Grade Parade's recipe last year and it made the room smell soooo good. 

Go check out your local thrift store! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beg, Borrow... and... steal?

You know how it goes... creative teachers do an awful lot of creating, but their fair share of borrowing ideas, too. I hope my attempt at some good ideas are looked on as compliments, not stealing!

I've been following Herding Kats in Kindergarten for a while and love seeing her "Where the Wild Things Are" theme pop up in her Monday Made Its. She had a great idea of using place mats on student tables instead of taping down name plates. Genius! I borrowed her idea and made my own.

Click to download!

Another idea came from pinterest, as all borrowed ideas come nowadays, but I'm struggling to find the pin! The blogger explained that she's a little tired of the colored clip charts that keep track of student behavior. Her do-gooders knew they were doing better than the others and the ones who had to sit out never could remember what it was they did wrong. Her idea for this year was to place a rule card from Whole Brain Teaching by the students name so that both she and the student would remember what needs to be worked on. She discussed removing the clip chart altogether, but I may combine the two some how. 

At any rate, I borrowed her idea of making small rule cards by shrinking my rules posters down. 

Click to download!

I'm kicking myself that I didn't pin that idea to any of my boards! Seriously, I've looked around for about an hour for it. 

This last idea has been tossed around by just about everybody. I made it last year and I'm STILL getting requests from Scribd to share it so I thought I'd just make it a Goggle Doc (why didn't I do that in the first place?) Click to download!

Can you tell I love me some Scrappin' Doodles? And I'm lovin' all the good ideas!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Pinning!

I was doing well... really well! Not ONCE did I think about school in June... besides the brief pang of guilt that I WASN'T thinking about school. Pinning on Pinterest made me feel better, but then I realized:

Source: via Kim on Pinterest

So I might as well get off and start some projects.

First, I took this:

And made this!

I used cute wooden cutouts and ribbon from Michael's!
I love how it turned out! If I can find a shoe for walkers then I'll replace the sun and cloud.

I also whipped together some cute mini shaker eggs!

So THERE's the reason I was hoarding Easter Eggs!

The ever-growing list also includes:

Source: via Nicole on Pinterest

Source: via Nicole on Pinterest

Good thing I'm only halfway through summer! :)
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