Sunday, September 28, 2014

Writing Across the Curriculum

Ever stress out and wonder how you're going to fit all of that JAM-PACKED curriculum into your busy schedule? Then figure out how to differentiate and give some kids an extra boost?

Well... I can't say that I'm here to solve all your problems... but... this unit is like a 3-in-one!

I feel like I've been creating a lot of graphic organizers lately for my high-functioning kiddos, so I thought I'd start sharing them, and see what you guys think!

So I adapted a writing assignment for a 3rd grade social studies unit about Georgia Habitats and made a graphic organizer and checklist to help our visual learners organize their thoughts. My new product is great for all learners, but it is PERFECT for students who have frequent "writer's block" or executive functioning weaknesses.

The assignment: Students must choose a habitat to write about, then write a friendly letter, with facts that they've researched about their habitat, and persuade parents with reasons why they should visit, or write their teacher explaining why it is the best habitat.

The skills practiced in this unit:
- Expressing opinions
- Supporting their reasons with evidence from informational text
- Organizing ideas in 4-square
- Writing interesting topic and closing sentences
- Using a checklist to increase independence and direction-following

What's included:
- 4-square organizer (for GA habitat or any habitat in other regions of the US)
- checklist with all components needed for writing the friendly letter with sentence starters!

You may pick up this FREEBIE for a limited time by clicking on the picture of the cover page above or right HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week, and don't forget to leave your feedback!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Organizing my Classroom!

Our school was open yesterday (yes, on a Saturday) so that teachers could prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences next week. So while I was there prepping my stuff, I decided to spend a couple of hours organizing! Whew, it feels so much better! Here's a tour:

Classroom Supplies:

This wooden shelf holds the construction paper, various styles of handwriting paper, and buckets of "Fun Friday" activities (dry erase center, fine motor center, pattern blocks, unifix cubes, toy cars, and coloring books)

The blue mailbox above holds various teaching materials on the right column. The left column is for finished work (each student has a number) that needs to be graded. The middle column is for work that needs to be finished. It's a great system for figuring out who needs to finish what. 

There are regular and mini-sized clipboards next to the mailbox. 

From top left to bottom left: Pencils & erasers, colored pencils, sticky notes, crayons, scissors & glue, index cards.
From top right to bottom right: Thin markers, thick markers, dry erase markers, stickers/rewards, magnet center, chalkboard center.
On top: Thick pencils (left), Ready-to-write regular pencils, battery-operated pencil sharpener, and pencils that need to be sharpened.

 Above: A picture of the markers drawer! Sooooo organized! I'm obsessed!

 Storage Cabinet #1:  

 (I wish I had taken before-pictures! Everything was scattered all over the place, and things were shoved in on top of other things, and it was AWFUL!)
Top Shelf:  Since our room is used for Lunch Bunch, we NEED paper towels, wipes, and sanitizer. I also keep plastic cups on hand for different activities and bucket filling. :) 

2nd Shelf Down: Card games & flash cards

3rd Shelf Down: Board games for Lunch Bunch!

Storage Cabinet #2: 

Top Shelf: Crafts Materials (foam materials, tissue paper, confetti & ribbon)
2nd Shelf Down: Stuff for bulletin boards, timers, Notepads, and Various Teacher Supplies & Sentence strips

3rd Shelf Down: Stamps & Pipe Cleaners, batteries, extra staples, craft sticks, thumb tacks, hot glue guns, clothes pins, teacher scissors, and tape
4th Shelf Down: Playdough kit, paint brushes, shaving cream & Modeling clay, Teacher markers/pens, stamps

 Well, that's a sneak peak into my cabinets! Now... On to making labels!! Whew! What's behind yours?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Now presenting............

The Grand Opening of my TPT Store!!!

I've had ideas flowing all summer, and I've finally taken the time to pull it all together! First, I would like to share with you my *FIRST TPT PRODUCT!!* 
I use this 5-star Leader Poster Pack to provide a visual for my rules and expectations. The 5-Star Leader Program uses a mnemonic device to remember the expectations: 
S= Stay positive (Always bring a positive attitude to class!)
T= Try your best (Never be discouraged!)
A= And participate while following directions (You must participate AND follow directions! It's two different points! That's how it adds up to a 5-point star!)
R= ...Respectfully and Responsibly (You need to be respectful and responsible at all times!)

During my social skills classes, that I call Lunch Bunch, I use a self-monitoring positive reinforcement system to keep kids accountable for their behavior, while rewarding them for making good choices. In Lunch Bunch, everyone "wins" regardless of how many points they earn. The prizes are ranked, so that they can usually earn something (as long as they earn at least 5 points). Usually, this system works well enough that it's easy to earn the maximum number of points. However, when a kid is having a rough day, this system reminds them to improve on a certain skill so that they can earn the desired prize next time. 

Setting up for Lunch Bunch! Students pick a sheet and a twistable crayon, write their name & date, then color their score for the day!

Below is a picture of the self-monitoring sheet that I use. I copy them on colored paper, and then slice them on the dashed lines. My groups come to me twice each week (either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday) so I have a separate format for each. The kids are taught to color in their score, so if they earned all 5, then they color in the number 5. On the second day, they add their points up, and prizes are as follows: 

This is the MW self-monitoring sheet. **FYI: There is also a TT template, as well as a 5-day template if you want to use it for a group that you have every day. 

Available Prizes (organized in Drawers): 
5 points = 1 sticker
8 points = washable tattoo
9 points = pencil/eraser prize
10 points = STAR SLIP (A PBS System that my whole school go nuts over them, which makes them EXTREMELY desirable!)

Here's a sneak peek of what's included when you purchase this packet! Click the picture to get it from my store!


For the next month, I am giving it away FOR ONLY $1! I want users to try it out and give me feedback for this system, so the price will increase on 10/8/14. Please, please, PLEASE help me out and let me know what you think!

While you're visiting  my store...

Please check out my new freebie! (Click the picture below to find it at my store)

Please be mindful that these are the very first products that I am posting in my store, and the best way to help a new Teacher-Author out, is to give feedback! 

Thank you all for your help in supporting a new TPT Teacher-Author!! :)