Saturday, April 19, 2014

Blog Make over and an Easter Sale!

Hey Guys! Notice anything new? Yeah... I'm in love with it too! ;) 
Just in case you aren't sure what's new, I've gotten a bloggie make-over! Tenille from Designs by Tenille has been working hard to freshen up this lil' ol' blog of mine and I think she did a fantastic job!


 If you are thinking of starting a blog or think your current blog needs an update I totally recommend her! She totally knew what I wanted even when I *may* not have known for myself! ;) 

So, I am on say two of my three day weekend and I am TOTALLY enjoying this three day weekend! I can't wait for my little guy to go on his first egg hunt! I've picked out the perfect outfits for this weekend's activities!

I love me some Gymboree!

and I found this ADORABLE felt hedgehog basket at Target! Had to have! 

So to help celebrate this beautiful Spring weather we're having and my blog make-over, I thought I would put my store on sale for 20% THIS weekend only!


Be sure to check out my store and grab up some amazing deals on products to get you through the last few weeks of school or stock up for next year! :) 

 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

GoNoodle: Saving Teachers' Sanity One Brain Break at a Time

Do you have High Stakes Testing in your state?


Yeah... it makes me shutter too... #teacherproblems

My kiddos just finished our SAT-10 testing a few weeks ago and now its the big kids' turn to take FCAT.  FCAT testing means quiet campus, and quiet campus means- at least for this teacher and her students- absolute torture! Do you know how hard it is to keep 19 eight year olds (and one almost 30 year old teacher) quiet... ALL morning?! Challenging to say the least. ;)

So how have I've been surviving these past few grueling days...?


I *may* be bribing my kiddos with sweet treats and brain breaks from GoNoodle.com! LOL!


I am not a huge fan of using sweets to get kids to do what you want... but these are desperate times and that calls for desperate measures. As I catch kiddos making an awesome choice (like trying to be REALLY quiet or reminding their buddies to be quiet)  I give them one little treat. That of course starts a domino effect, and BOOM, I've got my entire class working to be quiet. 

I've also been using the brain-break website, GoNoodle.com

As soon as my 4th/5th grade neighbor gives us the green light (We share a chalkboard wall),  I power up the website and we dance/run/breathe our wiggles out from the morning!


Here we are doing the "Wipe Out!" Zumba activity. This is quickly becoming one of my classes faves! What kid doesn't like to pretend they're riding a surf board? LOL!

I'm sure you've heard of GoNoodle and it seriously lives up to all the hype! Oh, and did I mention it's FREE!? Yeah....  SCORE!

 I've been having my kiddos earn brain breaks through out the morning by working as a class to keep quiet. As we go through our activities, if I catch them making good choices, I put a letter on the board. If we spell GoNoodle by lunch time, then the kiddos earn a "student choice" activity from the website. They LOVE it! 

I've also been using this website to break up our subsequently SUPER long afternoon. I just keep the website minimized on my lap top and as we move from one subject to the next, I'll throw a little activity up. I really like the "running" activities for those transition because I tell the kiddos we need to work on our transition speed!   

Want to try GoNoodle for yourself and help your kiddos get their wiggles out or relax before the BIG test? Oh and save your sanity in the process?!  It is super easy to sign up! 

Here's What to Do:

1. Head to GoNoodle.com 
2. Sign-up and create your class. 

3. Then choose your little "Class Chomp"! 

We chose McPufferson. 

Now you're ready to get movin' and shakin!  
4. Just click "PLAY"
and choose an activity to complete! 

That is NOT all of them either... 

5. Now watch as your kiddos get their wiggles out and you regain your sanity and peace because you'll actually be able to teach after this! 

No searching YouTube, or worrying that the video you chose is super grainy, or worst not age appropriate! You're also guaranteed to not curse under your breathe when that AWESOME video you pinned last night isn't accessable because Pinterest is blocked at school... #canyourelate #teacherproblems #grumble

Be sure to check out GoNoodle and wish me luck as we jelly bean and GoNoodle our way through the rest of the week!  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas Hop Take Three! Organizing Your Small Group Supplies!

Can you believe it is April already?! Well the girls (and guys!) are at it again! I am super excited to share this time saving and sometimes life saving (more on that in a minute) idea with you!


Ok... if you're like me, you like a little organization in your life. You know the kind where everything has it's place in your classroom and you never loose anything because you are THAT organized... (ok.. I *may* still be aspiring to that one...) But anywho... here's a little time saving idea that has saved me more than once!

You know those boring but very practical 3-drawer plastic storage units you can find at Target? Well, turn it into your small group supply station! To do, just label each drawer...

I've found that clear packing tape works well on keeping the labels stuck to the inside of the drawer. Then, fill up each drawer with your supplies for the day's lessons. 

We've got magnifying glasses for going on word hunts and evidence detection, a stack of decoable books, fluency drills, and LOTS and LOTS of sticky notes for our close reading a meaty texts.  What I love is that even if I'm doing different lessons with each group, I have a nice neat place to house all our supplies. No more running around the classroom trying to remember where you put something after you "cleaned-up" your table for that parent conference! YAY! 

On the top, I house all my small group must haves: timers, pencils, pens, markers, and my bell.

This helps keep my table clear for learning but supplies on hand. In my bottom drawer, I also keep a packed crayon box so I can whip that out if we ever need to mark or code text. If you don't need to use the top, you can easily slide this baby right underneath your table top for a super clean look. #aspiration #maybeoneday

I am sure you are wondering why I consider this a "life saving" idea... 
I *may* have been completely thankful for these three little white drawers one especially difficult MONDAY morning when my administrator walked in and plopped down to observe my small group. (They always know the best days to come! ;)). I was already feeling frazzled from practically saving the world from total destruction that am, so I hadn't quite switched to small group teaching in my mind yet. I was thankful to pull open my top drawer and see the supplies for a fairly simple lesson planned for my intervention group that day (we were going to hunt for our phonics pattern in our literature study books and "phoneme graph" them) I was easily able to ramp up that lesson even more by whipping out the sticky notes (note the mounds of them) and having students write questions they had about the text as they read. After graphing our words, we discussed the questions and strategies on how to find the answers. TEACHER SCORE! #lifesaver 

Now go forth and organize! Or at least pin a bunch of awesome organizing tips from these other fabulous bloggers. Having a Pinboard with amazingly organized spaces counts as being organized in my book. ;) 

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More Bright Ideas to check out... 
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