Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas Year in Review

Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link- Up! This one is a special one! Over the past 10 months, we have shared thousands of great ideas through our monthly Bright Ideas blog posts. This month, we’re re-capping all of those great ideas, just in case you missed any! Below you will find some of my bright ideas from the past several months:

As I moved to fourth grade, I had to rework how I organized my students work. My kiddos really loved it and it really helped me to keep track of who had turned in their paper and who had not! 

I really loved everything about our Camp Write Along and these activities were perfect for soothing the testing season anxiety that kids have as they approach their standardized testing!

I think this Bright Idea may just be my favorite! I always look for ways to incorporate interactive notebooks and this post definitely will help you set up your notebooks too! 

I prepared this post as I was planning for my Meet the Teacher at the beginning of the year! It worked out so well, I used it again this week for my Parent Orientation this week!

I was totally motivated by the documentary, TEACH, and my own Donors Choose project for this post on how to use contact paper in your classroom to provide more work space for your students!

I truly hope that you have enjoyed these ideas and that you found an idea that would works for you! 
It is so much fun to share these ideas with you!  Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright ideas from my friends! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bright Ideas Hop - Table Top Trash Cans

Here I am again! I am so excited that I am able to participate again in the amazing Bright Ideas Blog Hop! It is definitely one of my favorite hops and love to see all the AWESOME ideas! This month has been CRAZY! has been a whirlwind.

For my Bright Idea this month, I am sharing my solution to all the scraps that are left behind after my lessons. We love to make foldables but as we all know, they can be super messy! I love the plastic table top trash cans but those can get expensive and with the begin of the school year, it just wasn't in the budget. 

So I decide to take a look around the room and I came up with an idea! Tissue paper boxes. Yes...the same ones that seem to be completely empty as soon as you out them out for the kiddos! I had three boxes and to my surprise, they were perfect! 

My kiddos just put them in the middle of their table, and just like those cute little trash cans, they  placed all their scraps in the box. It was perfect...and didn't cost me a dime! The kiddos can easily dump them into our recycling bin and they stack neatly in my closets. I couldn't be more happy about this super simple solution to a messy situation!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from a variety of other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Remind Me of....{a little freebie}

It has been a very busy beginning of the school year and things are still a little CRAZY! It has been  a fast and furious first nine weeks but now it is time to slow down a bit and enjoy one of my favorite times of the year.,,,

Here is a little something that I like to do with my kiddos. I started doing this with my little ones when I taught first and second grade but it is something that even my big kids love to do!


Stop by Blog Hoppin' to read more about how I use these little cuties with my kiddos! 

Blog Hoppin

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop - Meet the Teacher Communication Booksmarks

It's that time again! I love the Bright Ideas Linky and this idea is just in time for Meet the Teacher! School here starts for me on Monday and the kiddos will come to school on Friday for one of the BIGGEST events of the year... Meet the Teacher!

It is such an important day... and you know what they say about a first impression...make it good! It's your first meeting with parents and students and sets the tone for a great year!

One of the most important things that I want my parents to know is that I truly want to be there for their children...and for them. Communication is critical and it starts on day one!

When parents and students arrive, they begin to look around and become familiar with our classroom.  On my boards, I create posters for the parents with all the ways to communicate with me and be involved in our classroom. Each of these have QR Codes for quick and easy access to tons and tons of websites and resources that are used to communicate. From my Teacher Wish List to my phone number/email, all parents have to do is scan and save! It's that easy!


Now, some parents may need to leave or may not be able to make the event so this is a little trick that I think will make a great resource, not only for Meet the Teacher, but all year long!

Those same little QR Codes that I created (I use the website can be saved. Once made, they can be used as part of your teacher signature in your emails or posted to your social media. My favorite are these little guys.....

These bookmarks make a WONDERFUL way to get the information to all parents, can be out on a frig at home after Meet the Teacher and can also be handed out throughout the year (parent conferences, new students, the possibilities are endless!)

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's Under Your Cape- Conclusion to a FABULOUS book study!

Have you been following the amazing posts on What's Under Your Cape? I am so amazed by the reflective and beautifully written post that each blogger has dedicated to this book study! The ideas and chapter thoughts have definitely brought light to the importance of character education and Barbara's book is a wealth of knowledge that will encourage students to think about and contribute to the world around them in meaningful and thoughtful ways.

As the school year begins, the first thought that comes to my mind is "how do I put this all together?" Barbara suggests the power of visibility. What we put on our walls and in our classrooms influence our students so why not start there?

Creating space in your classroom where students can see and reflect on those valuable character traits will be a gentle reminder of what the expectation and environment in your classroom are and how to achieve it. 

We all love an inspirational quote (I seriously love a good quote!)  It motivates us, calms us, direct why not provide that to your students? One of the thoughts that came to my mind as I was thinking about how to implement this into my classroom is to allow students to associate a quote that is meaningful to them that will speak to each of the characteristics. Making it personal and allowing students to reflect on the quotes will add to there understanding of the trait and make it their own. Ownership is essential. 

Another thought I had was how would I spread the word? My students will be the leaders. My principal is amazing (and listens when I say..."I have an idea..."...which happens often...LOL) and is working with me and my class to share the thoughts behind Barbara's book with our student body. They will be able to share their thoughts on the announcements each morning and we will be writing a small piece each week for the school newsletter. Hopefully getting out the word will help in keeping the importance of the qualities of a strong, loving character on the forefront of our students (and parents) minds.

Here are a few other ways you can share the message:
  • Hallway Bulletin Boards
  • Being a Bucket Filler classroom or campus
  • Use your school marquee 
  • Blog about with your student's parents 
  • Have students write small notes asking "What are you doing to be a Superhero?" and have students share with teachers or other students. Have them leave the notes in a special box that can be used for an interactive bulletin board 

Start slow and steady. Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed and start small. More importantly, always remember that you are the small pebble that can cause ripples in the pond. What you do, no matter how big or small, will make an impact. It only takes one person....and that one person could be you.

It has been my absolute pleasure and honor to have hosted this book study along with all the amazing ladies that shared their thoughts about What's Under Your Cape? The ideas that have been shared to compliment and support the essential qualities that are discussed in What's Under Your Cape? have been fabulous! If you missed the book study or individual posts, just follow the links below and bookmark this page for your reference:

Want to continue the journey with Barbara and What's Under Your Cape? Make sure to follow her Facebook page where she shares awesome posts about the qualities of a SUPERHERO!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop- A Little Trick for Duck Tape

It's that time again!!! It's time for the monthly Bright Ideas Blog Hop and I have a fun little trick for you!

I don't know about you but I just love duct tape! It's comes in about a gazillion different colors and patterns and it can be used for so many different purposes! Long ago are the days of that yucky plain gray tape!

One of the many ways that I use it in class is to prepare my interactive notebooks for my students. 
Duct tape can be used on the binding to help organize the subjects by color/pattern and are perfect for creating pockets in the back of your notebooks for all those little loose ends. 

But here are two little tricks that I use when cutting duct tape:
1. Save your place! I can't tell you how many times I can't find the end of the tape. 
So what I do is place a paperclip to mark the start! Simple....but it works like a charm!

Don't you love it?!?

2. Use wax paper to cut your duct tape. It won't stick to your scissors or to itself and 
you can actually cut it in a straight line! It's awesome and so simple!

Hopefully you will find these just as useful as I did! 

If you would like to know more about my interactive notebooks 
just click here!

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on 
FacebookInstagramPinterest or Twitter for more great ideas.

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to check out the rest of the Bright Ideas!

Friday, July 18, 2014

What's Under Your Cape Chapter 2- Chapter 2

I am so happy to be joining Amy of The Resourceful Room to share my thoughts on 
chapter 2 in the What's Under Your Cape Book Study!

Unconditional love.  Affection shown to someone without limits or conditions. Complete love.  

As a teacher, this is so important. Students, every single one of them, should know how much you care for them. There should be no doubt in their minds that you are 100% committed to them and come what may, you will always be there to help and support them. All of them with no exceptions. 

I show this to my students through my actions. When I teach, I make sure that I prepare the best lesson I possibly can with activities, questions, discussions...the works! When they answer, I support and encourage them. When they work well together, I compliment their kind hearts and when they are having a difficult day, I take the time to put the lesson to the side and listen. 

It's important for students to understand the power of  unconditional love. We share it with them but that isn't enough. We want them to share it with the world around them and this isn't something that comes naturally to children. It has to be taught and I agree with Barbara when she discusses Random Acts of Kindness. 

RAKs, as they are also known, are a perfect way for anyone to put love into action. There are so many sweet, simple, thoughtful things that can be done in the classroom, community, country and even the world, that can allow students to experience being the giver of unconditional love. Here are just a few ways: 
  • Smile at everyone you see today.
  • Help a classmate without being asked.
  • Give someone a sincere compliment.
  • Leave a sweet note for your parents before they go to work.
  • Hug your parents just because.
  • Hold the door open for someone.
There are so many ways to bring a little love and kindness into the world and once your students are exposed to them, they will most definitely want to do more! Oh...and don't forget, they love to learn from example, so make sure that you too are participating in ways of showing kindness to those around you!

I also enjoyed and connected with Barbara's thoughts on the "Most Valuable A's Students Can Learn". This speaks to the absolute necessity of not only concentrating on the curriculum but to the aspects of a child's character that will work in unison with the the academics to create a well rounded person that will contribute to the world around them.

The values of affirmation, appreciation and apology are essential to a happy student but even more so for a happy life. Children must see this modeled everyday and see you showing what each of these virtues looks like, sounds like and feels like when done from a completely selfless place in your heart. If children learn to give sincere, heart felt compliments they will not only empower those around them but they will full their hearts with love. Affirmations can be shared with others with ideas such as becoming "bucket fillers", creating a compliment journal, or take home notes (written by the students by a classmate).

The second A is appreciation. This is the one that most students will have the most exposure to through school and home. Many of them have written thank you notes for someone that has helped the class. They love doing it and they feel great about it. I think that it is really important for children to have an opportunity to see the impact of their act of appreciation. If you can, have them deliver the notes or preform the act of appreciation themselves so that they can experience how wonderful others feel when they are appreciated.

The last A, apology is the hardest. Children, when in the heat of the moment, don't want to apologize. If they do, it is usually a quick, half-hearted sorry that had no meaning. Practice with students how to stop, take a moment to breathe and think about what the situation occurring. Talk to them. Help them work through the situation at hand, think about the other person, and craft an apology that is sincere. There is nothing more freeing than an apology that is sincere.

I am loving my journey with this book and I can't wait to hear what you have to think about chapter two! Check out the linky for more amazing reflections and thoughts!