Friday, July 26, 2019

Calling All Science Teachers!

Do you teach science? If so, they you probably stumbled by our blog and realized I (Theresa) teach science and love it. Robyn teaches ELA and couldn't imagine teaching any other subject. I love being departmentalized in school and focusing on one subject matter. I am able to bring clarity to my students because focusing on planning one class (taught three times a day) is much easier than teaching every subject, every day. Props to you elementary school teachers who teach it all, I don't know how you do it.

Anyways, we have an amazing online science curriculum that I love, called StemScopes. We teach through inquiry and use Claim, Evidence, & Reasoning to write about our science learning. I'd love to hear about what you do in science class. I've written a few more blog posts about specific lessons I teach in science, so be sure to search the blog for ideas and lessons.

As I print out materials for my classroom since I moved rooms and our entire school is getting renovated (see my last post). I wanted to share these awesome posters I will be hanging up in my classroom again.

My students come into 4th grade knowing what a claim is and how to talk about evidence, but they do not move into reasoning until the end of 4th/beginning of 5th. We use the same vocabulary in reading and math, so understanding what CER means is very important for success. My students find these posters so helpful and easy to understand.

Today there are over 41 *five star* ratings on this product and some feedback the feedback we have received is so positive:

I love knowing I've helped out other teachers and even better helped SO many students feel successful in science. Let me know what you use in science to help your students explain their understanding.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

**Freebie Inside** Cactus Flower Welcome Banner!

Good morning!

If you liked the cute editable name tags I created yesterday, you should check out this free welcome banner. I love hanging welcome banners above my classroom door. It's a great place to set the tone for your classroom before your students even enter.

My friend hangs a welcome banner on her bulletin board and takes student pictures below the banner on the first day of school. They always come out adorable and the parents really enjoy them.

However you decide to use this, I'm sure it will be great. If you like it, let me know!


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Thinking Ahead...

Hello Friends,

It's been quite a while since I've blogged, but I'm excited to have a minute to do so now. So guess what? Our school is getting renovated! Basically torn down to the studs, and built back up again. I won't have a new classroom this year, but next fall (2020) I'll have an amazingly clean room with AC! I am thinking ahead and excited about what's to come. Check out the pictures we received in an update today. We are starting school right after Labor Day, so a lot has to happen before it is safe for students. We do however have to teach and work through a year of crazy renovations. Has anyone else gone through something like this before?

Crazy, isn't it?

Anyways I am starting to think ahead to what my classroom is going to look like. I don't think we will have floors, but will there even be bulletin boards or will the walls be studs? I still want to make my classroom feel like home for my fourth grade students, so I have to be creative in decor. I LOVE the lama, cactus, succulent ideas I am seeing, so I started creating today. I love these cute lama/cactus name tags I whipped up.

They are perfect for any grade because they aren't too babyish, gender neutral, and bright/fun.

**Teacher Hack** I teach 75 students, so three classes of 25. Name tags are a must at the beginning of the year. Don't want to take up too much room on a desk? These name tags will open up into Power Point. This will allow you to print them as slides, four or even six slides to a page. This will leave you with smaller name tags.

Check them out on my TPT page, for just $2, you can download, type directly onto them, and print them out.

Stay tuned for some more fun creations!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Classroom Themes & Decor

Classroom themes may seem like a trend, but sometimes as teachers, we spend more time in the classroom than in our houses. I love to decorate my classroom and make it fun, bright, and comfortable for my students. 

For the past few years, I've had a camping themed classroom. I still love it and haven't changed it much, just added to it. I picked a few of my favorite colors to accent the decor and used wood backgrounds. 

I actually put all of my decorations into a bundle, in case you wanted a camping or woodland themed room. Check it out by clicking on the pictures below. 

I also just created adorable cactus name tags. I know many people have cactus themed classrooms and I find this clipart so fun and bright! 

What theme do you have or plan to have in your classroom? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

3 Ways to Kick the End of Summer Blues!

Raise your hand if you can see the end of your summer in sight? Do you see your sweet freedom slowly slipping out of your reach? Have you been training your bladder to only explode every six hours? Are you ready to get up at dawn? Here in Connecticut, most school districts start after Labor Day, but my school starts PD, August 23rd. We are starting early due to renovations next summer, they are trying to give us a longer summer next year. This year we had a short summer due to twelve snow days and a TORNADO in May! Nobody was expecting that surprise that led to an extended school year! 
Anyways how can you fight the back to school blues? Here are three simple tips that help me look forward to getting back to school. 

#1. Buy school supplies that makes you excited! This year I have purchased an awesome Happy Planner, a bunch of fun flair pens in mouth watering colors, florescent expo markers, and really cute smiley face binder clips. I really am looking forward to using it all. Does any teacher NOT have a school supply addiction? What are some of your favorites? 

#2. Pamper Yourself! Before I start school, I always schedule a hair cut/color, mani/pedi, and massage. Why? Well, why not!? It is a great way to unwind and mentally prepare yourself for a new year and fresh start. 

#3. Sleep! I plan on sleeping in and being lazy for a day or two before school starts. For the next eight months I will have to get my kids up at 5:30, make lunches, pack backpacks, shove breakfast down everyone's throat, and fight about outfits daily ... so I deserve some rest time now. 

Will these ideas help? Hopefully, because it is my plan! If you have a routine you follow before the start of school, we'd love to hear your ideas! 

Have a wonderful rest of summer teacher friends, we know you will kick butt in the 2018-2019 year! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

8 Books to Teach Empathy & Acceptance While Helping Students Gain an Understanding of the World

We are so excited to be working together for our new unit. Since I am back in ELA this year, Robyn and I brainstorm constantly about how we can make the units more effective, engaging, and fun. We want the students to understand WHY they are learning what we are teaching and we want to teach the WHOLE CHILD, while teaching the standards. This year we have a high focus of social/emotional students and because of that we are very excited for this unit.

Our focus question is, "How can literature teach us about empathy and acceptance while helping us gain an understanding of the world?"

Not only are we teaching the students about empathy, but we wanted a highly engaging unit. There is nothing worse than listening to the same book every year for a lesson. Some great books are read every year from K-4, but we wanted something new for the surprise factor. We looked for new books and books that aren't hugely popular and this is what we found.

We are going to read Wonder as a class and constantly refer back to the novel. Stay tuned for more information on our plans for this book! I was able to get a whole class set for $36 through, so be sure to check that website out for book deals.

We found the best prices on Amazon and ordered them all with Prime! :) The other books we are using in this unit are (affiliate links provided):

Check back tomorrow for our first lesson inferring using The Invisible Boy!

Friday, August 11, 2017

THREE ways to make students feel SPECIAL before they meet you!

I'm sure all of your are in the back-to-school rush and have either already started school or will be in just a few short weeks. Here in Connecticut, we start the last week of August. So while my kids are finishing up their last day of camp today, I am sitting in Starbucks, crossing a bunch off my to-do list. Unfortunately, I cannot get into my classroom this week because the floors are being waxed, but I know early next week students and parents will be wandering around eager to take a peek at where they will be learning for the next year. So I am going to explain some tricks I have to make me look supper prepared because let's face it, are we ever ready for the year to start?

#1. Send home a welcome letter. This year I have a new partner teacher who I am excited to work with. I wanted to send something home to our new classes to introduce ourselves. I made this letter quickly in Power Point and added pictures from our personal Facebook pages (don't worry, my partner sent me some he approved of). I'm just going to print these (thank you insta-ink) and mail them home. The kids will surely get a kick out of seeing their teachers "in real life" as well as receiving snail mail! (Don't worry, I only made it blurry here for privacy reasons, it printed out crisp and clear.)

#2. The Classroom Door! I haven't completed my door yet, but it is on my to-do list. I've seen such amazing designs floating around on social media, but since the door normally the first part of the room seen, it should be a great reflection of your classroom. It would be extra special if you had student names on it, welcoming your new students. A little hint is to go on Instagram and search the hashtag #classroomdoor - there are some great ideas to spark your creativity. The hard part is picking out which one you want to create!  

#3. My favorite classroom trick is really special. Since my school allows parents and children to walk around and look at classrooms during the summer, I like to leave my room presentable. One of the first things I do is make a personalized birthday lollipop bouquet. When students see these jumbo rainbow lollipops with their names on them, they seriously get excited. Little do they know they will not get one until their birthday, but they still look awesome all year long. Since these lollipops are so large, I love sticking them in a tall vase. If you think it will fall over, try adding some of the green foam you stick flowers in. I even had thank you notes from parents with pictures of their child enjoying the giant pop! What I like about these pops is that they are packaged carefully and never arrive broken. Plus they are at a price on Oriental Trading, that even a teacher can afford. To make them personal, I just create a circle in Power Point and decorate it with clip art and color. I then print, cut, and tape to the pop. If lollipops don't interest you, check out the other assortment of candy on Oriental Trading, it will surely arrive in great shape and is at a price you can afford. This will be a great focal point in your classroom, and even if the rest of the room is a mess, eyes will surely be drawn this vibrant display of yumminess! 

Best of luck on setting up your room. If you want to make the lollipop labels and cannot figure out how, email me and I will gladly send you my template!