Monday Made It: July 29th

Love how Tara's linky keeps me motivated to work on projects this summer :)
Here's what I've been working on this week:
Every year I give my students retelling ropes when we learn about retelling. And every year, usually 4-5 of the retelling ropes are either missing or in our class's Lost and Found by the end of the first week. And every year, maybe 4-5 students have their ropes by the end of the year.

So I decided to make my students book marks!
Front... I made this one for me :)
Back... LOVE this quote :)
Here they all are!
I bought the chevron card stock from Michael's and typed up all of my bunnies' names. I put four on a page.  Then I typed the Dr. Seuss quote on the back and snagged the picture of the Cat in the Hat off the internet. Because his mug is on them, I don't think it would be legit to share the template with you guys... I'm pretty sure there are copyright laws against using anything Dr. Seuss... But they were super easy to make; I know you can do it! Anyway, each book mark has the retelling rope attached to it. It's just a piece of fuzzy yarn (I found it with the all the baby yarns) that I've tied 7 knots into. Hopefully, these book marks will mean that less retelling ropes will be lost. And maybe the bunnies can stop using my sticky notes for book marks :)
My BBB Jean at Diving Into 2nd Grade sent me some hippo chip clips! Isn't she the BEST?! That's one of the perks about being obsessed with hippos (or any other obscure animal): when people see hippo things, they think of me and give them to me! I decided I'd use them in my classroom!
I attached a business card magnets to the back. The top one I'm going to hang outside my classroom door, and my students will clip their Gotcha cards in it. Gotchas are a K-2 incentive program at my school. The bottom one is a little self-explanatory. I'm going to hang that clip on my front board. 
I updated my Main Idea Mania unit!

I added four additional passages that are 2-3 paragraphs in length. I noticed that the Common Core wants second graders to determine the main idea of multi-paragraph passages, and the other passages are a single paragraph. Here are the new ones!

If you've purchased this unit, please redownload it :)

Not school related, but you NEED to see this! Some work friends and I did The Color Run on Sunday. I made tutus for a few of us... those of us who didn't already have tutus!

They were pretty easy to make, just time consuming. It took me about 2 hours to cut all the tulle into 2-inch strips. I used my rotary cutter and mat, which made it go super fast. Each tutu had 10 yards of tulle on it for supreme poofiness. Each one took about another hour to tie all the strips on. I found out after I was done that I should have folded them in half before I tied them on, but I liked how they were longer.

The whole group before the run.
The group from my school afterwards. See how the girls on the end have different tutus? Theirs are rainbow tutus that have the strips folded in half.
We had so much fun! I highly recommend this race, even if you're not a runner. There were so many walkers and run/walkers. 

I'm off to see what everyone else made!


THROWBACK THURSDAY: Student Christmas Gifts

Say what? Christmas??? But it's July!


Thanks to Cara over at The First Grade Parade for throwing this fantastic linky party!
Originally posted December 20, 2012... yes, ONE DAY before my students left for Winter Break!
Every year I use my Scholastic bonus points to "buy" my students a Christmas/Winter book for Christmas. WEELLLLLL... this year I TOTALLY forgot to submit my order until LAST SATURDAY! I was convinced there was NO WAY my order would be here in 6 days (two of those days being weekend days...). I waited and waited, holding out hope, with no back up plan, and today... SURPRISE! My package arrived! YAY!!!

I was opening the box after school, taking out the books so I could take them home and wrap them, when my teammate stopped in my room to say goodbye. She saw what I was doing and suddenly said, "Is that the book with all the swears in it?" Wha wha WHAATTT?!?!? She read the back cover to me, and it was something about the kids beating each other up, lying, stealing, smoking cigars and swearing! And I was going to send this home to some of my sweet 2nd graders??? I don't think so! I was SHOCKED that Scholastic even sold a book like this. Have you heard of it?
Now I actually have never read the book, so I don't know if it's as bad as it sounds, but I'm not about to chance it. I ordered it in the first place because I noticed it was a higher level (P or Q I think?) so I thought it would be a good read for my high kids. Yeeaahhh, not so much...

Now I was REALLY in panic mode! Tomorrow's the last day of school and I have NOTHING!! I wandered around aimlessly at Walmart tonight for 45 minutes, wracking my brain. Then the light bulb went on! I ended up with this:

It's a box of crayons and a note pad tied together with a little sign I made that says "May your days be merry and bright!"What kid doesn't love new crayons? I don't know if I can take full credit for this. I may or may not have seen something like this on Pinterest or another teacher blog, but I honestly can't remember. If it's your idea or you know where it came from, let me know :) I am very happy with how they turned out, especially on such short notice.

I'm sure you are all ahead of the game and already have your Christmas gifts put together, so keep this in the back of your mind for next year. Maybe even around the Back to School season. You could buy the school supplies for cheap then and just store them for a few months.

One more day! WE CAN DO THIS!!

So why am I bringing this post back now? Because of all the Back to School sales going on! I haven't checked on crayons, but my Walmart has a pack of those mini notebooks; 4 for $0.88! I think I paid a dollar each in December! I will be stocking up this summer and storing the supplies until Christmastime :) If you want a copy of the labels I made, click here


I'm lovin' this linky! Thanks to The First Grade Parade!

For those of you who asked for a copy of my Survival Guide to Second Grade, I have not forgotten about you! I just haven't been to school yet this week to get it off my computer, due to my husband's surgery on Tuesday. Hang tight, and I'll get it to you soon!

Today I want to share The 5 Color Rule with you, originally posted on September 12, 2012.

Quality, not quantity.

Raise your hand if you have ever had a kiddo rush through a coloring project. It seems like it's getting worse and worse every year, doesn't it? Especially now with Common Core, we hardly do any cutesy art projects anymore. So when I give you the chance to color... BUNNIES, SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY!! Instead they scribble on the paper a few times and announce, "I'm done!" Ummm... no you're not. OK, hands down now.

Enter The 5 Color Rule. 

The 5 Color Rule states that students must use at least five colors in all their drawings. The purpose is not so that drawings are pretty and colorful (although they do end up this way). I want my students to take their time and produce quality work. Nothing is more disheartening to me when a student sloppily scribbles on something that I intended to be a keepsake for another student or themselves. An added benefit is students understanding the term "at least." I can usually take a quick glance at a drawing to see if the kiddo has used at least 5 colors. Now I see more pride when students show me their work before turning it in. I love it too when they point out and count the colors. Sometimes a kiddo will come up to me and say, "Look! I used NINE colors!" YAY YOU!! :)

My poster is super simple to make. I took one sheet of every color card stock I could find (thanks, teammie Megan!), die cut circles and randomly glued them on. This poster hangs on my front board. While I still have a few who race to be the first one finished, The 5 Color Rule is definitely helping my students slow down and take more care when coloring something.
I want to create a new poster and get it printed on larger paper, but I have no idea how to make something on PowerPoint larger than 8.5"x11". Do you just resize the paper, save it on a flash drive and take it to an office supply store to print on a larger sized paper? If you know, leave me a comment or shoot me an email. Thanks!! :)

Monday Made It--July 15th

I would have posted sooner, but WE HAD A BAT IN OUR HOUSE TONIGHT!!!!! Ewwwwww!!!!! It's gone now, but I still have the heebie jeebies, and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to fall asleep tonight...

I took some time off this weekend to go on a mini-vacation with the fam to the Wisconsin Dells. "The Dells," as we locals call it, is a popular touristy place about 2 hours from our house. My grandpa has a cottage on a lake about 10 miles out, so we went there for the weekend before the hubs' surgery tomorrow.

Even though I didn't have as much time this week to be creative, here are some of the project I've been working on, thanks to the motivation from Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics

A Bloglovin' Button!
The one from the Bloglovin' site was so ugly and didn't match my blog at all. So I made a new matchy-matchy one, and surprise, surprise! I actually figured out the code to install it myself. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back :)

School Calendar!
I'm part of my school's scheduling committee, and for the last two years, I've been in charge of making a master calendar with all of the PE, guidance, Spanish, and library schedules, as well as testing dates and special events. Well I finished it, and here are a few pages:
I was itching to add some cute clip art to it or maybe some fun background paper, but I refrained :)

Teacher Toolbox!
I will admit... when I first saw all the Teacher Toolboxes out there, I didn't get it. But the more I saw them, the more I thought about my own organizational system. Here was my desk area last year:
You probably can't tell, but there are five different spots in this tiny space where I store my teacher supplies. FIVE!!! This upcoming year, I'm hoping to get rid of this computer desk altogether and use a smaller table (yet to be found and/or built...). That means I really need a better organizational system. So I decided to jump on the Teacher Toolbox bandwagon! Here's mine!
Yep. I love it. And my new obsession is spray glue. Why didn't I know about this until yesterday??? I feel like I've been living a sheltered life...
I found this in the DIY section, next to the super glue, at Walmart.
What did you make this week?

Throwback Thursday: The Survival Guide to Second Grade

Super excited to link up with the amazing Cara at The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday!
That old guy is cracking me up!
I love this linky because I don't have any classroom-related pictures to show you since it's summer time. And while my children are ADORABLE, you're not following this blog to see them :) I posted this almost a year ago... when I had about 4 followers... two of them being the hubs and me :/ This post explains how I share curriculum and procedures with parents at the beginning of the year. Are you ready? Set? GO!
Originally posted July 18, 2012

A few days before school starts we have Open House.  I've heard of lots of ways of doing an Open House, but at my school, this is when the kids find out who their teacher will be for the upcoming year. Doors open at 5:00, and it's so fun to peek out the windows at 4:50 to see the crowd waiting to come in. I'm sure they are just as anxious to meet us as we are to meet them! They make their way down the red wing like a wave and split off to either the first grade or second grade side. And since my room is the last one on the second grade side, I get to see it all unfold. It's definitely an exciting time! The kids come with their school supplies to organize their desks, pick up their folder of information, meet me, say hi to their friends, and explore their new classroom.

Since we don't have a Back to School Night a few weeks into the school year (which makes me sad... I really wish we did!), I include a packet of information of what grown ups can expect during their student's second grade year. At first, it was a lovely boring 5-6 page Word document. Yes, I can only imagine that the parents were DYING to read it...  MAYBE they read a paragraph or two.... if I was lucky! I knew it needed to change. So I came up with this: The Survival Guide to Second Grade.

It's a flip book. I used the colors blue and white since those are my school's colors (Go Wildcats!). I hope this new format is more user-friendly and easier to read.

Each page is its own saved document. The bottom margin is 1/2 inch and size of the top margin increases 1/2 inch for each page. There really isn't a specific order that I give the information.  If I didn't have much to say about a topic, I put it on one of the smaller, first pages;  if I had a lot to say about the topic, then I put it on one of the larger, last pages.  There is info about all subject areas, plus how work is graded, classroom rules/behavior expectations, birthdays, snacks, etc.
One thing I forgot to mention in the post above is that I always make several extra copies in the event that I get a new student during the school year. The parents always look so relieved and grateful when I give it to them, like they're not missing out on anything. You all know how chaotic it can be when you get a new student :)

What do you think? I am super proud of this flip book! And the exciting thing is that these bad boys are already done for this upcoming year! I usually have a parent helper assemble them for me at the end of the school year (for the next year), that way I can spend my time in August decorating and making my classroom pretty, instead of scrambling to assemble the flip books. YESSS!!

Update 7-12: If you'd like me to send you my templates, leave a comment with your email. I'll send it out next week when I'm at school :)

One last thing... The winner of my Making Words for the Whole Year giveaway is...



I'm so excited to FINALLY be linking up with 4th Grade Frolics:
I haven't had a whole lot of time this summer to make things, due to the hubs-in-the-hospital fiasco. In fact, I'm supposed to be laying on a beach in Cabo right now... Today is our anniversary (seven years!), and even though I'm bummed we missed our trip, I'm glad that he still has both legs (just a joke; amputation was never even an option!) and we can spend the day together. We went out for dinner and a movie yesterday because I have a hockey game tonight. Check out my Instagram to see pics of our night last night!

OK, wanna see what I made?
We have three rules that we use school-wide: Be Kind, Be Safe, Do Your Job. I love that all classrooms, kindergarten through sixth grade have the same rules; it makes a teacher's life in the cafeteria, playground, hallways, etc. much easier!

I decided I wanted to pretty up my rules posters and include my hippo theme. Here's the finished product!
Too bad you can't really see the ribbon. It's a pretty turquoise with white stitching on the edge. And side note: the cardstock is one of the prizes I won from Ideas by Jivey's Bloglovin' giveaway! There was a ridiculous number of amazingness in that package!!! The hubs was like, "Did you go shopping AGAIN?" and I said, "Nope! I won a giveaway!!!!" WOO! I can't wait to hang this up!!
My teammie loves frogs almost as much as I love hippos, so I decided to make her a frog set. She doesn't know that I'm doing this... SURPRISE, MEGAN!
Click HERE for a FREE copy of these rules with the frog theme. And if you're interested in the hippo themed ones, just shoot me an email and I'll send them to ya!
This year I will be beefing up my Word Work station for Daily 5. Spelling word practice can get really old! One of the first things I will be adding to my Word Work station is Making Words
 I've made 48 printables, four for each month. I've included June, July, and August as well, for those of you who are year round teachers or go back earlier than I do.
 There are no religious references to Christmas or Easter, although two of the words are "Santa Claus" and "costume," in reference to Halloween.
 Want to win a free copy? Leave a comment including your email address by tomorrow (Tuesday, July 9th) at midnight, and I'll choose a winner at random! You can also try to win a copy over at my Facebook page! Make sure you "like" the page first, then leave a comment on the giveaway post with your email. That giveaway is super speedy; it ends at midnight TONIGHT!
This is a freebie! Click on the pic and download the preview on TPT.
My last thing isn't school related, but awesome nonetheless. I have a small business where I crochet hats for babies and kids (click here if you want to check it out!). Well, the girls on my hockey team have asked me to put my crochet talent towards.... other things. Like a Milwaukee Brewers hat made with beer cans...
Awesome, no? Although totally NOT appropriate for my CHILDREN'S hat making business! No, I will NOT make you one for your toddler :)

It feels good to be creating and crafting again! I already have a few ideas in mind for next week! Stay tuned :)

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