Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Classroom Organization

First off, I am absolutely in love with my new blog design thanks to my friend, Christi from Ms. Fultz's Corner.  Talk about talent... thanks for your hard work!
Since many teachers are in back to school mode, it is the perfect time to talk about organizing.  I believe an organized classroom is key to an optimal learning environment for children.  If teachers can't find materials, then they are wasting precious instruction time, which can lead to off task behavior from students.

Say goodbye to losing random calendar pieces!  I previously kept my calendar pieces in Ziploc bags by month, but the bags would rip.  This 13 pocket poly organizer is from Target in the $1/$3 section.  With 13 pockets, there are enough to place calendar pieces for each month.  
  I LOVE the labeled sections on this to do list.  Best of all, each box can fit a post it note making it easy to update your to do list. Since I use this often, I laminated for durability.
You can find this freebie in Stacey's TPT store HERE
Isn't this clipboard adorable?  I ordered it from Etsy and am so happy with the final product.  Typically, I use this clipboard for dismissal.  This year I put my dismissal list on the clipboard and took it with me when I walked students to the buses.  
The drawer labels are a freebie from Elizabeth @ Fun in Room 4B.  
When a student is absent, have a neighbor place any handouts or notes inside this folder.  When the student returns, they will handle all papers.
  To make this, I purchased this product from Teaching with Terhune's TPT store.  I bought folders, laminated each cover, then attached with double sided tape.  Simple!
If you are interested in this purchasing this product, go HERE
I store all of my supplies in my teacher toolbox.  I like the idea of this product, but finding a place for it can be tricky.
You can find the labels for free HERE

More to come on this topic.  I hope you found some of these strategies helpful!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crash Course Book Review

For me, summer is a time to relax.  When I am not tutoring or babysitting, I like to travel, shop, catch up with friends and family, and enjoy the sunshine.  After the frigid temperatures we experienced this winter, I  happily spend my days outside. The greatest gift of summer is restoring my love of reading.  This summer I promised myself I would read often and share my thoughts with other educators (thank you Twitter).

I continuously saw Kim Bearden's book on other teacher's blogs before the official release date.  I was so inspired by these posts that I decided to pick up a copy the day it was available for purchase.  I absolutely LOVED her book.  I even finished it in 1 sitting.  Just like teaching, we need to help our students make connections to their own life.  As I was reading this book, there were so many moments that I could relate to.

There are 17 courses in this book: Chemistry, Magic, Courage, Play, Recovery, Talent, Optimism, Love, Generosity, Tenacity, Insight, Expectations, Bonding, Creativity, Improvisation, Gratitude, and Faith.  Each course begins with a brief description that illustrates the main idea and is loaded with powerful words, actions, and experiences from Kim's 27 years as an educator and administrator.  At the end of each course, there are class notes which summarize the course in bullet points to guide self reflection.  In addition to class notes, homework is provided to help turn thoughts into actions.

I stumbled upon this quote at the last page of the first course.  AMAZING!  Teaching is all about relationships.  We must build rapport with our students, staff, parents, and the community. Teachers need to know their students- both academically and personally.  I am a firm believer in teaching our students according to their interests.  From selecting guided reading books to creating centers, I want my students to be engaged and having fun.  As we are heading towards the back to school season, think about how you will get to know your students.
 In high school, math was not my best subject.  My attitude towards math changed completely thanks to a teacher I was lucky to have not once, but twice.  I still keep in touch with him occasionally.  He held all of his students to high expectations and believed in them.  Even though I am certified PK-3rd grade, I strive to embody those same qualities to my students.  When students are given high expectations, they will rise to them {with proper guidance and resources}.

Kim Bearden's book is a "feel good" book.  With all of the preparation involved in the back to school season, take the time to read Crash Course.  You won't regret it! 
If you are still reading this, THANK YOU!!  

I appreciate those who are reading my blog.  Please leave me a comment.
Teachers- What is your favorite professional read this summer?  What did you take away from it?
Principals- Did you require your staff to read a specific book or article this summer?  What was your purpose?  If not, tell me what you would recommend others to read before school starts.

Have a great week!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Twitter Chats Resource

So, I have been telling friends that I would have the grand opening of my blog once the design is finished.  However, I was so excited about this new resource that I wanted to share it right away!

This summer I created a Twitter account to expand my PLN and gain new ideas.  I have really enjoyed the chats and getting to know educators all around the world.  However, participating in multiple chats a week made it hard for me to remember date, time, and moderator(s) for each.  To solve this, I created a Twitter Chats book.  I had it bound at Staples for $4.99

Below is the cover page.  On TPT I purchased Crayonbox Learning product: TPT Selling Blogging Planner- Social Media Planner- Ultimate Teacherpreneurs.  You can purchase it here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/TPT-Seller-Blogging-Planner-Social-Media-Planner-Ultimate-Teacherpreneurs-1072779
She accepts custom orders so I purchased her product and she created this cover for me.  Love it!

Next, I printed out month at a glance calendars for the 2014-2015 school year.  I previously purchased Susan Dow's teacher planner so I used the calendars from that pack.  You can purchase it here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2014-2015-Teacher-Planner-Chalkboard-Blue-Chevron-EDITABLE-1209093
 This is where I will keep track of the date and time for each chat.

The last step was including a notes page for each month (also from Susan Dow's teacher planner). I included this so I can keep track of all the great ideas I witness during the Twitter Chats.  

An organized Allie is a happy Allie :)
You can follow me on Twitter: Abond013
My next post will be a review of Kim Bearden's new book.
Happy Friday!  Thanks for reading!