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!

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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!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Christmas in July...Blog Hoppin' Style!

Hey there! It's mid-July....the peak of our summer time! Let's have a little fun and have a little retail therapy as August approaches! From now through July 26th, I will be placing a product on sale for the entire day! Want to see what's on sale? 

Here are the links for each  one so that you can catch 
the fun each day! 

July 25   July 26

Now, you are probably wondering what is going on for July 25 and 26! It's a MYSTERY product (who doesn't love a surprise!) and I know that you will love them!

Make sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram 
for daily reminders of the sale! 

Want to see all the fabulous sales? Check out the 
fun at Blog Hoppin'!

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Under Your Cape? Book Study- Chapter One

I am beyond excited to get this book study started with my new bloggy friend Melissa of Transitional Kinder with Mrs.O! It is going to be a great couple of weeks as we take an in-depth look at Barbara's book, What's Under Your Cape?

In the beautifully written book What's Under Your Cape?, Barbara begins with her experience in the 4H Club and how the values of the organization helped shape her view of character education for the children in our schools.

These values, once taught, can lead every child to find the super hero in each and every one of them. Mind, heart and action will allow students to develop a character that will last them will past their years with us. 


The first step of developing their inner superhero is service. 

In your classroom environment, you can create service opportunities everyday. The focus is on filling a need, whether it being a line leader, taking the cafeteria count or sweeping at the end f the day. Investing in their classroom and their classmates will not only make them feel as thought they are stale holders in your classroom but also allow them to feel as though they are a part of something that is bigger than themselves. What they do and how that effects others is essential and when you do for others, you can't help but feel good too! 

In a school environment, creating opportunities for students to come together with a common purpose and goal can also foster the value of service. With a little guidance, students can take the reins and create a plan to help their school, community or the world around them. This is the next step. A service learning project allows students to deepen their learning experience through civic responsibility which touches and changes the community around them. It may be that it fills a need right in your community. Your students can organize a food drive for families in need, a clothes drive or even a school supply drive for students at a neighboring school. It may be that your students have a great talent that needs to be shared with the community for the common good- knitting, painting, singing. 

Children need to have chances to think like a super hero and help to contribute to fulfilling the needs of others. Once they develop that way of thinking..."How can I help?"...they will discover that not only does it touch someone else's heart but it will also fill their heart with joy, accomplishment and love.

Something that I have always wanted to do is create a service oriented club at my school. When I was in college, my very best memories are from when I was in my sorority, Kappa Delta Chi. It is a service organization and it was the first time I felt that I was truly helping the world around me. What I did mattered. We did everything from food drives to volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. We painted house for families in need and we gave holiday parties for the senior citizens of LULAC. I gave my heart to service and try to do that every single day.

I am going to start small but here are some ideas that I have found...maybe there is one in here for you! 
  • Write welcome letters to new students to your school. These can be distributed when a child registers their first day though the registrar and can help students feel part of a school family from the very first day.
  • Decorate lunch bags  for children in their school. How fun would that be to see their lunch bags shared with their schoolmates. Bags can also be donated to a local Meals on Wheels organization as a way to contribute to their cause. 
  • Student ambassadors can be used to help new students become oriented with new a class or grade level. Children can give of their time to play with them at recess, give them a school tour or act as a lunch buddy as they arrive to your school.
  • Make cards for a local organization that has shown sincere interest in their learning. Our community is very active and it would be such an awesome experience for students to acknowledge and appreciate their contribution to their learning.
There are several websites that can also help you develop service opportunities for your students. Here are a few that you might find helpful:
Service to our community, our country and our world is essential. Through fostering this in your students, you are setting them on their way to discover the superhero that they truly can be and that lesson will impacting for the rest of their lives. 

Have a great idea or have been inspired to include service in your school year? I would love to see what amazing ideas you have implemented and your thoughts on What's Under Your Cape?

Would you like a signed copy of Barbara's book? Just click here to link to our giveaway, how to purchase your own copy and the schedule for our book study! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's Under Your Cape Book Study and Giveaway

Howdy friends! I don't know about you but I love the summer for so many reasons! The sun, the fun and the time to just relax and unwind is simply priceless. This summer (like many others), I have spent time reading a TON of books. Some for pure pleasure (my favorite so far as been The Fault in Our Stars) and a stack of professional books.

There was one book that truly inspired me. One that gets to the heart of what I hope to do in my classroom everyday. My bloggy friends and I started talking and well....we decided this book was too good to keep to ourselves! So we got together, in only the way that excited teachers can, and planned a book study to share this book with you!

Barbara Gruener is a counselor and character coach of Westwood Bales Elementary and has taught from prek through 12th grade in her 30 years of working with children. She has an amazing blog The Corner on Character  where she shares so many wonderful ideas and stories that focus on developing the heart and mind of the students that we have in our classrooms everyday. 

I have had the absolute pleasure of reading her book What's Under Your Cape? and it is a must read for every educator! In this wonderful book, Barbara writes passionately about the importance of nourishing the super hero qualities in every single student. Through the use of song, dance and pure laughter, we can use Barbara's example to develop character that will benefit our students and the world they live in for many years.

We would love for you to join us as we explore this book together! 
Here is a schedule of the chapters and all the amazing bloggers that will be part of our super fun book study:

I am very excited to be co-hosting chapter one with Melissa of Transitional Kindergarten to bring you our thoughts on chapter one! Chapter one is all about service and how creating service opportunities is a great chance to give to others while also filling your own heart....

Are you excited? Want to know how you can get your copy? Ready to join us in our book study?

We are having a little giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to purchase a copy of your own? 
Check out Barbara's blog The Corner on Character and order your copy today!  

See you on July 14th for Chapter one!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bright Ideas- Writing on the Walls!

It's time for some more Bright Ideas and I have a super fun one to share with you! 

My idea was inspired by the documentary TEACH, which aired last fall. One of the teachers was teaching Algebra to 9th grade students and piloted a program to help her students to succeed. Part of what occurred was that the room was a 360 degree classroom, where students had wipe boards all around them. Every single wall. She used this to create an AMAZING collaborative environment for her students to be able to work through problems, watch others work problems and have conversations about their strategies.

I feel in love.

Then I can I do that? I couldn't very well buy giant wipe boards! My classroom has two already (one that is somewhat covered with my Promethean board) but the rest of the room is mostly large blue cabinets....and then it hit me!


So I wrote a Donor's Choose grant for several rolls of write and wipe contact paper and expo markers! Here are the results...


This was the easiest project and is going to have so many rewards! The students can get out of their seats, allows for collaboration and creates an environment that fun, save and productive!  This worked beautifully with task cards from all subjects and will make a great resource for writing reading responses, editing and so much more! I hope you enjoyed this idea and are inspired to show "the writing on the wall" in your classroom! 

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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!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Reading { A little personal and a little professional}

Well, year 14 is in the books! What a wonderful whirlwind of a year! I am really enjoying teaching the older kids and can't wait to get started on my second year of fourth grade! But before I do that, I have a whole summer to do some of the things I love most...create, plan and read!

I love to read. It is my favorite past time and it's something that I don't get a chance to do when the school year begins. I try. I really do....but I am always so busy and tired that it might take me weeks to read something that would only take a couple of days during the summer. *Sigh*

During the summer, I really like to mix it up and read as much as possible and I definitely have a list of books to read! I just finished reading The Fault in Our Stars and totally fell in love with it! I am SO glad to have read this before seeing the movie (side note: I am a big fan of reading the book first when I can. There is something really amazing in the act of  creating the story in your own mind first and then comparing it to the movie. I will say, that there have been times where I have been inspired to read the book after the movie only because I wasn't even aware that it was a BOOK...but, the book always seems to  If you are looking for a inspirational, sweet and easy read....this is your book!

I am off to the bookstore again today and am thinking about picking up Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Many have suggested it and have said that it is really good....

Here is a list of a few other reads that I have planned...strictly personal....

1. The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick
2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
3. Fifty Shades of Grey  by EL James (Not a new read, but a really good one....)
4. Whatever might fall in my lap because I LOVE a good book recommendation!

As for professional books, this next school year is going to be focused building what was great this year! My school is taking a closer look at close reading (lol...) and we are continuing our work with guided math. Here are the books that I will be studying this summer to help build those skills...

1. Note and Notice: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers
2. Falling in Love with Close Reading by Christopher Lehman
3. Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction by Laney Sammons
4. Building Mathematical Comprehension: Using Literacy Strategies to Make Meaning by Laney Sammons

Still looking for some more awesome books? Check out  Marie at The Hands-On Teacher, who has a great summer reading linky going on that will definitely help you find some awesome books for the summer!

So now it's your turn (and I can't wait to hear), what are you reading?