Sunday, August 25, 2013

Need Some Supply Labels?

Every year I tell myself that I am going to make new supply labels for the plastic containers in my classroom.  I teach math all day and have multiple manipulatives.  I always feel overwhelmed because of all the plastic containers that surround me.  This year, I decided I would begin slowly placing new labels on my tubs and containers. 

 I made a set of labels for my rolling cart.
While I was at it, I arranged the plastic
 containers in order, not alphabetically,
 but beginning with the 1st unit I teach.

I also made supply labels for a smaller shelf .  This is the hub-bub of my room, where crayons, scissors, glue, etc... are stored.  I use desk caddies, but as every teacher knows, there is always a color of a crayon that is missing, broken, or dull and needs to be replaced, or a bottle of glue that refuses to work correctly, or a glue stick that mysteriously loses the glue, leaving only the stick in glue stick.  These supply containers make it easy for a student or myself to quickly grab the needed item and continue working.

I made these labels for my particular needs.  However, I have made a set of generic supply labels for anyone who would like to have them for free. 

 There are 12 labels:  Crayons/Markers/Paints/Paint Brushes/Glue/Glue Sticks/Colored Pencils/Paper/Scissors/Pattern Blocks/Color Counters/Magnetic Items. 

 Just click on the lick below to grab your
 own FREEBIE labels.  
Here's to being organized!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Missing Pencil Remedy!

I am sure most everyone has seen the Pinterest pictures of flagged pencils.  What an ingenious idea!   You take a piece of duct tape and put it right under the eraser.  The logic behind this, is that students who have to borrow a pencil will be more likely to remember to put it back later.  This idea is very attractive to me since I teach close to a hundred students a day. 

 I have 4 classes of 4th grade children passing through my math classroom each school day.  I can't begin to explain how many students come into my room each day without paper or pencil.  That may not sound like a big deal to some folks, but, when there are 4-5 children in each class without pencils, it gets expensive.

 I have tried various ways to keep track of the pencils I lend out each class period. Over the years, I have devised some extreme methods to keep those #2's in my classroom.  Back in the good old days, (when I taught middle school), a student who needed to borrow a pencil would simply take a shoe off and put it in the corner, in shoe jail, until class was over.  When the student returned the pencil, he got his shoe back.  Believe it or not, it worked fairly well. A typical middle schooler does not want the kind of attention that comes with walking down the hallway with one shoe on. :) In this day and time, I would probably be sued for doing that! 

I have had habitual pencil borrowers use crayons when they came to class unprepared.  That really is a hardship, not just on a student, but, for me, the person who has to check, grade, and look for errors on a paper with thick, heavy orange or purple crayon.

Last year, I wrote down the names of students borrowing pencils on a clipboard.  It worked o.k. but, I spent too much time writing down names, and checking at the end of class for people who had borrowed the pencils.  I don't like to waste time like that either.  Plus, it made me feel a bit silly.  

So, when I came across several different pictures on Pinterest with large, colorful duct tape flags on the pencils, I decided to try this.  Yes, students can still walk out of the room with the pencils.  However, I don't think most children really want to steal my pencils.  I believe the majority of students just forget about having borrowed a pencil.  Hopefully, the flag will jog their memories as they leave my room, or they will bring it back later when they realize they walked out with one. (Hey, one can dream!)

Below is picture of my first duct taped pencils.  I am very interested in seeing how well this works!  The students come back to school next Tuesday.  I will write an update and let everyone know how it is going.  I hope it is good news.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Clipboard Organization!

It really doesn't take a whole lot to make a school teacher happy.  I was walking through Wal-Mart last week with my daughter and her friend, looking for school items for her to take to college next week, when all of a sudden, I looked down on the bottom rack of the school supplies and stopped dead in my tracks.  There in front of me were the most colorful clipboards I had ever seen!  After a few moments of complete silence, the girls started asking me if I was alright.  Was I alright?  What a question!  Was I alright?  My mind was going a mile a minute!  I was color-coding my classes in those seconds.  I was thinking of all the ways I could incorporate these clipboards into my day.  Was I alright?  I had never been better!  

People who do not teach do not understand that the smallest of things can mean the world to a teacher.  I teach 4 classes of mathematics each day so, the pressure to stay organized is a yearly stress.  For the last couple of years, I have used clip boards for each class.  You know the kind... the standard school, ugly brown board with a huge silver clip at the top.  I wrote the homeroom teacher's name on each one, and have been fairly happy with these clipboards until this year.  

I needed something new, something fresh.  So, my goal this summer while I was out shopping for 3 kids who go to college this fall, (yes, I did say 3), was to look for some cool looking clipboards that I could color-code with my 4 math classes.  

Was I alright?  One of my bucket list items had just been marked off!  There were 4 colors of these beautiful clipboards.  Not only are they colorful, they open up and you can put "stuff" inside of them!  Ah...I thought I must be dreaming. 

Out with the old!

In with the new!

Not only do these beauties hold paper, they open up. I can put pencils, pens, notepads, post-it notes and most importantly, my cell phone, (um, which I would  never actually use at school), :) inside the clipboard and carry the items around with me! 

 I actually want to use the inside to store any make-up work, or other important papers from each class.  (I have chill bumps just thinking about how organized I will be)!

 Here is the sticker that came on the clipboards in case anyone else is interested!  It is called a Slimcase.

Well, now that I have decided to color-code, this is a perfect excuse to buy more things!  Now that my eyes are open to all the possibilities, I may turn into a color-coding maniac!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

TPT Sale!

I'm happy, happy, happy!  It's that time of year again!  Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School, (BTS), sale.  Of course, my shop is participating with its own 20% off sale, starting Sunday, August 18th to coincide with TPT's sale.  Yes, that means you can save 28% on any product purchased in my store on the 18th and 19th!  Although, the TPT sale runs from Sunday, August 18th through Monday, August 19th, I am extending my sale through Tuesday, August 20th.  That means that even if you miss the TPT sale or you decide you really should have bought that item, it will not be too late.  You will still be able to save 20% in my shop, even on Tuesday .
I can't wait to start buying products that I have been saving on my wish list!  Remember to type in the promo code BTS13 when making purchases.  
Now...let's go buy some stuff!

Just click on the picture below to begin browsing.
Remember the sale starts Sunday, August 18.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Let's Get Organized with TPT

I am a binder kind of person.  I put my recipes, important papers, ideas, and even instructions that come with my appliances, etc... in notebook binders.

 At school, I have a binder I use for all classroom organization, a binder for student information, and my lessons plans have been in notebook binders way before they were cool to use.  I have a binder for every unit I teach.  I have the unit binders with everything I need in them, or if it doesn't fit, then I have a page that tells where the item is.  I am obsessed with  binders, because they keep me organized.  I, personally, know how unorganized I can be without the right system, but, it is truly amazing how many people think I am one of the most organized people they know!  I still look shocked each time I hear this! :)   I give a great amount of the credit to my binders. 

I work hard at staying organized.  That's why I knew I needed a binder to help me with my TPT shop when I first began on Teachers Pay Teachers a few years ago.  I have added to the binder, taken away from it, revised and revised some more.  I finally feel I have it the way I want it.  This binder gets me organized so, I'm not feeling overwhelmed by the whole business thing.  I don't have to search for items, I don't have to guess if I listed a product on a certain collaborative board or not, I don't have to hunt down passwords,  or try to remember an idea I had a few weeks ago.  It is all written down in my TPT binder.  I have even included a form for writing down all the technology problems I encounter, and a place for the solution, and websites that were helpful in finding the solution.
(Um...I won't go into how many technology help pages I have in my binder at this point!  Let's just say it's more than 10 but, less than 1,000.)

I can compare sales from month to month, quarter to quarter, or year to year.  I have a form for expenses and donations, (also helpful during tax season).  There are helpful blogging forms, (including linky parties), pinterest forms, and TPT shop forms, such as a form for the infamous TPT Newsletter submissions.  There are forms for contests and giveaways, listed items, free items, works in progress, a product idea organizer and much more.

I have also included a 12 month calendar which I will update each January.  I hate nothing more than to have to fill in a blank calendar when I buy something. All anyone will have to do is re-download the binder each January and print a brand new FREE yearly calendar, because once the TPT Business Binder is purchased, the new yearly calendar will be free!  YAH!

If I made a form with color on it, I also made a duplicate black/white version so there are options to choose from.  I even did this with the cover pages for each section and the binder cover page and spine.

If you are interested in getting organized, please check out my TPT Business Organization Binder by  clicking on any of the pictures below!

I have also included a Table of Contents below the pictures, since there is even more to this binder than is shown here!  

TPT Business Organization Binder
Table of Contents
·      Introduction
·      Binder Covers & Spines - Divider (3 Choices)
v Binder Covers (4 Choices)
v Binder Spines (2 sizes/7 types, including a blank spine)
·      Ideas - Divider (3 Choices)
v Notes to Self (Color & B/W Version)
v Product Idea Recording Sheet
v Product Idea Graphic Organizer
v Works in Progress (Color & B/W Version)
v Product Checklist
·      My TPT  Products - Divider (3 Choices)
·      My Teachers Notebook Products - Divider (3 Choices) – (Just in case you sell on this site).
v Listed Items Chart (Color & B/W Version)
v Items to be Edited (Color & B/W Version)
v Free Items (Color & B/W Version)
v Newsletter Submissions Recording Sheet (Color & B/W Version)
v Contest & Giveaways (Color & B/W Version)
v Items Contributed to Giveaways (Color & B/W Version)
v I’m Having a Sale (Color & B/W Version)
v Promoting Items (Color & B/W Version)
v Questions for the Forum
v My Accomplishments
·      Graphics & Clip Art - Divider (3 Choices)
v Graphics/Clip Art
·      Fonts - Divider (3 Choices)
v Fabulous Fonts
v Awesome Alphabets
·      Pinterest Boards - Divider (3 Choices)
v Pinterest Collaborative Board Pins
Pinterest Ideas 
·      Blogs - Divider (3 Choices)
v Blogs I Follow
v Ideas From Fellow Bloggers
v Blogging Ideas – Quick List (Color & B/W Versions)
v My Blogging Ideas – (Color & B/W Versions)
v I’m Having a Linky Party! (Completed and Blank Versions of the Chart)
v Yes, I Will Join Your Linky Party! (Completed and Blank Versions of the Chart)
·      Facebook – Divider (3 Choices)
v Facebook Friends
v Facebook Favorite Finds
·      Financial Info – Divider (3 Choices)
v Monthly Shop Sales (Color & B/W Version)
v Quarterly Shop Sales (Color & B/W Version)
v Tracking Sales @a Glance
v Expenses (Color & B/W Version)
v Purchases (Color & B/W Version)
v Donations (Color & B/W Version)
·      Technology Resources – Divider (3 Choices)
v What’s the Password? (Color & B/W Version)
v Favorite Websites
v Technology Help
·      Misc. – Divider (3 Choices)
·      Notes – Divider (3 Choices)
v Notes Clipboard (Color & B/W Version)
·      Common Core Standards – Divider (3 Choices)
·      Calendar of Events – Divider (3 Choices)
v Current Year – Monthly Calendar Pagers – (Color & B/W Version) – This calendar will be updated each year.  This is a free update each year!…
·      Credits Page
·      Appendix A
Blank Divider Templates (9 Choices) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Apple Glyph

I am so excited!  I just finished an apple glyph for the first day back to school. I wanted to do something fun with my students, and I thought a glyph would be a fun activity.  I just couldn't find one I liked so, I made my own.  This glyph can be used on the first day back to school, or at anytime during the year.  

The glyph comes with directions, suggestions, survey, answer key, apple pattern, and glyph pieces. There are 8 pages total, including the cover page.

You can purchase the Apple Glyph by
 clicking on the link below.

Below is a detailed tutorial to make it
 even simpler to use the Apple Glyph!
  • Students will fill out a survey.  There are 8 questions/statements.
  • A large apple pattern will be used for gluing the glyph pieces.
  • Students will use the answer key to see what glyph pieces they are to use.  
  • The color or shape used on the apple pattern will vary according to the answers on the survey.  Therefore, the colors will vary between students, making their glyphs their own creations.
Below is an example of how to 
complete the apple glyph.

Question 1 

The apple is colored.  Only the apple is colored, not the border around the apple.

Question 2

The border of the apple and the border around the leaves are colored.

Question 3
A mouth is chosen.  When cutting the mouth out, leave some white around it.  This makes it so much easier to cut out!

 Then, color the white part of the mouth the same color as the apple.

 Once the mouth is glued onto the apple,
 it will blend right in.

Question 4
 A moustache is chosen and colored.

 I am going to allow students to use the moustache as bangs instead if they want to.

Question 5
A shape will be chosen for the nose.

I am going to allow my students to place the shape of the apple in any position.  This apple glyph still has a square but, it has been rotated.

Question 6
Students select a pair of eyes.  As with the mouth,  don't even attempt to have students cut out the white between the eyelashes.  Just cut around the eyelashes and color them the color of the apple.

Question 7
The leaves and stem will be colored.
(with moustache)

(with bangs)

Question 8
Legs and sneakers are added.
The Apple Glyph is completed!

Here is another example of the what an Apple Glyph might look like, depending on how the questions on the survey are answered.

I have included a list of suggestions with the actual Apple Glyph in my TPT shop.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Greek Week

At the end of last school year, when the dreaded state standardized test was finished looming over us like a big, ugly cloud, my class had a great time with our Greek Week unit.  Around March, I had decided I wanted to do a big, over-the-top unit to end the school year with a bang!  I began a couple of different units, but, just wasn't satisfied.  
It was during this time my oldest son, Nathan, called me one evening from college.  During our conversation he told me a few stories about some of his events from Greek Week.  On a college campus, Greek Week is where fraternities and sororities participate and compete throughout the week in different events.  Nathan always has such a good time during these events.  
A few days later, as I was still searching for a really good end-of-year project, a light bulb went off in my head.  I could do a Greek Week!  I could create events and activities in keeping with Greek history, and it would be educational all at the same time!  So, that's just what I did!  
My kids and I had a blast with our Greek Weeks, (the unit can be longer than a week, if desired).
Even though we had our Greek Week at the end of the year, I know there are grade levels that study Greece throughout the year.  This unit would be an excellent source of activities for those who are studying the Greek customs and way of life.  There is an Classroom Olympics included too!   I call it the End of Year Unit or Anytime Unit. 

Below are some pictures of my kids creating and designing a Greek Vase.  My unit has an actual large vase template, but, I had my students draw it, since testing was over and we were not in any hurry.

Next, the kids colored the vase either red, orange, or a combination of both.  We chose these colors to represent the clay the ancient Greeks made their vases from.  They pressed down very hard on the crayon and left no spaces.

Notice how dark the vase is colored.  This is very a very important step in the creation.

Some of the designs were quite fancy and unique.

The next step was to color over the entire vase with a black crayon.  Again, the students had to bear down hard with the crayon and not leave any spaces uncolored.

Once all the hard work was over, my students were excited to move on to the final step.  Each student received a toothpick and drew a design on the vase. As they drew over the black crayon, the red/orange crayons from underneath begin to appear. 

The design had to keep the ancient Greek tradition of displaying daily life. They drew a picture, or a collage of pictures of their life.  One student drew her mom and her cooking supper.  Several students drew their hobbies or recreational events they participate in.

Here are a couple of finished vases!

 My students worked very
 hard on these vases and 
 were exceptionally proud
 of how they turned out.  
 More importantly, they 
 learned a bit of Greek   
 history that they want  

If you are interested in viewing more of the Greek Week unit in my TPT store, simply click on the picture below.