Monday Made It: Student Birthday Gifts

Guess what?


I will be celebrating with a Dairy Queen ice cream cake later tonight. Not sure if I'm going to share it with the rest of my family though... #sorrynotsorry. Hey, I'm 38+ weeks pregnant. DON'T JUDGE! :)

I posted how I celebrate birthdays in my classroom a few months ago {click here}, but today I want to share the super cute birthday gifts I made for my students this upcoming year. I've never actually given my students birthday gifts before. Not sure why... maybe because by the time I think about doing it, a few birthdays have gone by, and then some of my kiddos would be left out. My principal gives all kids a birthday pencil or pen, so I don't want to do that. And I don't want the gift to be some cheap trinkety thing that breaks or causes more problems than it does any good.

So I thought to myself: what is something that all kids need?


Yep. I will give my students erasers.

I found these gems at the local teacher store: 
These have holes in the bottom, so the students can put them on the ends of their pencils. I thought that some of my rough-and-tough boys (and maybe girls too!) might not want a cupcake eraser, so I got these too:
Then I picked up a package of those small bags you put candy in from Walmart and whipped up some cute labels. I used child labor this project as an opportunity for my children to hone their fine motor skills to help me assemble...
FREEBIE ALERT! Click {here} if you want these labels.
(For whatever reason, not all of the pages are showing up when you click the link. But if you click the download arrow at the top, they all show up!)

Today's post is brought to you by 4th Grade Frolics and the number 32!

Oh and one more thing... Today is the LAST DAY to enter my Oh Baby! giveaway.
 Want to win $20 to my store? Click {here} for the details!



Bright Idea: Using Visuals to Establish Routines and Expectations

Setting routines and expectations is so incredibly important at the beginning of the school year. It will be an uphill battle for the entire year if you and your students aren't on the same page. I learned very early on in my teaching career to never assume ANYTHING when it comes to routines!

One thing we spend lots of time doing at the beginning of the year is set expectations for classroom and school routines. From transitioning to the carpet, transitioning back to desks, how to organize desks, how to use the pencil sharpener, how to find a book and put it away, lining up, walking in the hall, using the bathroom, hanging up back packs, and so much more, I can't stand the sound of my own voice by the end of the first week of school!

In order to set these routines, my students and I develop rubrics and use lots of photos to create anchor charts we can refer to throughout the year. The first kind is a 3-2-1 anchor chart. In my school, we are striving for 3s. This first chart shows students how to line up to walk in the hallway:
We start by making a list of appropriate lining-up behaviors. Then we practice lining up like a 1: YIKES! I take a picture. Then we sit back down and try it again; this time we are a 2: ALMOST... I snap another pic. We sit back down. Lastly we are a 3: PERFECT! Notice the colors too: red for 1, yellow for 2, green for 3. Green = good to go! After I get the photos printed, I will put the chart together and we review it again. It's hard to tell in the above photo, but the chart hangs right by the door to remind students what to do. 

The awesome thing about the 3-2-1 poster, is that I will hold up 3 fingers, 2, fingers, or 1 finger to signal to the kids where we're at. I also train my kids how to remind others around them to be a "3 Line." You know, because shouting at friends to be quiet and shushing them loudly is COMPLETELY counterproductive. So I teach them to tap their neighbor on the shoulder, give the quiet sign (putting a finger to their mouth, as if to say "shh"), face forward, and be a 3 again. I will change my fingers as we improve, and as soon as we're a 3, it turns to a thumbs up, and we are on our way! I also have green, yellow, and red cards on a ring that I will hold up when we are in super crazy situations, like coming in from recess.

The next one hangs in the hallway. Each student gets one hook, although each hook has two hooks, one on top of the other. So we talk about how backpacks need to be zipped and hanging up, with lunch boxes on the top shelf. As it gets colder, we also talk about how to hang up and organize snow gear. It's quite the balancing act, but it IS possible to hang up snow pants, winter coats, and backpacks on the hooks. And most kids usually have a tote bag too, to carry their snow pants and boots home. Does it require a bit of rearranging? Yes. But I want my kids to be responsible and take care of their belongings.
The second kind of routines anchor chart I have is a list-type poster. Last year I noticed a lot of my kids slouching in their seats or resting their heads on their desks or arms during learning time. So we came up with a list of what "Ready to Learn" looks like. Then we practiced, and I took some pictures of kids who were ready to learn.
I hung up this poster at the front of my room so that I could refer to it if I needed to. There was some serious competition to be in the photos! :) I've also made posters like this for what the Daily 5 stations look like, what math work time looks like, what it looks like to work at a computer/with an iPad, etc.

In case you're wondering, I do this with my class every single year. I do not keep these charts from year to year. I feel that creating these charts together helps students "buy into" the routines, plus I want to use THEIR photos, not photos of my class from previous years. Also, each class has different needs. Last year was the first year we needed to review "Ready to Learn" behaviors, but this year *fingers crossed* we won't have to do that.

If you liked this BRIGHT Idea, please consider joining me on FacebookInstagram or TPT. For more BRIGHT Ideas from over 100 bloggers, make sure you check out the link up below. Just choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for stopping by!


OH BABY! It's Giveaway Time!

I recently hit a blogging milestone (1,500 followers) and my birthday is 11 short days away, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate. I don't really have the time to put together a massive giveaway, so I decided to do something different: A Baby Pool!
 Guess the details of the birth of our Baby #3, and you could win $20 to spend in my TPT store! I've set up the baby pool here. It's free to join and to make a prediction. The rules and how to earn points are listed here, which THANK GOODNESS, because I have no idea how I would tally up who would be the winner! Sorry, giveaway is now closed! Will keep you posted on Baby's upcoming arrival :)

Some details you might want to know about my previous pregnancies:

  • We don't know the gender, although this pregnancy has been very similar to my daughter's.
  • I'm due August 31st.
  • My son was two days early and my daughter was one day late.
  • My son was 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and my daughter was 8 pounds, 1 ounce.
  • Both my kids were born with lots of hair: my son's was brown, and my daughter's was black.
  • I went to the doctor yesterday, and without being too detailed... this baby isn't coming any time soon :)
Out of fairness for those who participate, predictions can be made until my birthday, August 18th, and then I will be closing the Baby Pool. Good luck!!


Weekend Warriors Back to School BASH!

I'm teaming up with my Weekend Warrior girls to bring you a Back to School Bash!
I am SO stinkin' excited for the Teachers Pay Teachers Blast Off Back to School sale, it's not even funny. My cart is FULL and READY TO GO! Shhh.... don't tell the hubs :)

We are celebrating the TPT Back to School Sale this weekend with some giveaways. Each of us is giving away a B2S product from our stores, and the grand prize is $5 from each store PLUS a $50 Amazon gift card! Can I enter??? I suppose it would be bad if I did...

My B2S giveaway is so hot off the presses I just posted it to TPT last night! I've been working on this product for almost a year, testing and tweaking it in my classroom to make sure it was just right.

Drum roll please......
What I love most about this new product is that it combines number sense and word problems. Students  are given a Number of the Day to practice determining even & odd, counting and skip counting, and expressing the number in different forms (word form, expanded form, and with Base-10 block pictures). Then on the other side of the page, students solve a word problem, tell the unit, write a number sentence, and explain how they solved the problem. I tell my students "I just knew it" is not acceptable as an explanation for how they solved the problem.  Being able to explain their thinking is a critical skill in the CCSS as well as the Smarter Balanced test that's coming our way THIS YEAR! YIKES! Here's a little bit about how Daily Math Jump Start is set up:

Here are some close ups:
Booklet cover page from the August pack.
Here's what one of the pages from the August pack looks like.
Want to win a copy of Daily Math Jump Start for August? Enter this Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We aren't done just yet! We're all giving away $5 to our stores. That would be $60 worth of products from these AMAZING bloggers/TPTers:

Oh, and a little something special to help you get ready for this upcoming school year:
Here's the Rafflecopter for the GRAND PRIZE:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to stop over at my bloggy friends' blogs to enter their giveaways too!

Alright, I gotta go and keep filling my TPT cart! WOOO!!!

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