Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Optimum Organization the Linky Continues...

Last week, Kristen and I had such a wonderful time reading through all of your ideas!  So much so, that we would like for the party to continue!  Several bloggers felt the same as we did, too. So, we are here to tell you that this party isn't over yet.  As a matter of a fact, this party will continue all summer long! 

Would you like to join us? 

Here are the steps...

1. Write a blog post about one or both of the following:

An Organizational Idea
This can be something that you've used in the past that has worked well, or something you are developing this summer for next year. One idea is fine, as this will be a weekly linky party.

and/or

An Organizational Find
Last summer, I hosted a weekly linky "Fabulous Find Friday" where we would link up all of the great little finds that we had scored while out and about shopping all summer long.  This is a little continuation of that linky.  So, for this part of the linky, you will link up those special finds (bins, binders, containers, etc.). This past weekend, I spent a little time at my favorite store:

and I found so many things that I can use in my classroom next year.  I can't wait to share those ideas with you! 

2. Grab a button for your blog post:


3. Link on up! You can join the party on Kristen's blog or mine...it's all the same party so come on over!
4. The Fine Print! We do have a couple of rules for this linky, as shown below. Please note that any links that do not follow the rules will be deleted regrettably.

The purpose of this linky party is to provide new and veteran teachers a chance to come together and share ideas on how to get organized for a new school year.  Please join us and share your advice and expertise, but not links to products please. Please share new posts in which you are participating in the party, not links to older posts or labels on your blog. Thanks so much for your understanding!

We want to reach out to everyone as well! Don't have a blog? Please feel welcome to leave comments each week sharing your tips with us...we can learn so much from each other! :)

The fun all starts this weekend on Saturday. We hope to see you there! Thanks so much for visiting :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Will You Do Differently?

Hands down, the sweetest blogger in the whole universe is my friend, Kim, from Finding Joy in 6th Grade.  Countless bloggers will agree with me.

joyin6th Homepage

So when I saw that she was hosting her very first Linky Party, I knew I wanted to participate. More importantly, it was a very fitting linky to my needs right now.
As the year draws ever so near {ah, summer}, I find myself reflecting on what went right and what I need to change next year.  Kim's linky will help me stick to my plan.  If I write it down, I will be more likely to try to commit.

Last summer, my teammate and I sat down and mapped out the entire year aligning our curriculum with the Common Core.  Oh, we were READY!  We had cushion time at the end of the year before testing.  Well, we didn't take into account the number of times we wouldn't be able to switch classes (and therefore not be able to teach) due to MAP testing, field trips, assemblies, early release days, etc.  Basically, I think we lost 3 weeks of instruction. That should have been that cushion time.  Next year, we are including those dates in our long range plans so that we are not scrambling at the end of the year.

I've used Math 4 Today as a spiral review for a million years.  I even blogged about it {here}.  It worked.  But, I want something better and more aligned to the Common Core.  So, guess what I'll be working on all summer :)

I love teaching math in small groups.  I try to pack as much teaching into the 12-15 minutes I get with each group that I don't always keep my student records neat and organized.  I'd like to keep anecdotal records on each of my 75 students.  To do this, I need to organize my system!


This kind of piggy-backs on the last goal.  I want to stay organized with my math instruction, but I want to stay organized in general.  I'm pretty good at organizing...it's staying organized that's the problem.  I M.U.S.T. do better!

What are your goals for next year?  Link up with my friend, Kim!

Number graphics 1-4 are courtesy Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah on TpT.  You should check her out.  She's amazing. The font I used is from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  Her fonts are so cute.  Check her out, too!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Optimum Organization~Come Join the Party!

I’m so excited to be partnering up with my bloggy friend, Kristen, for this Optimum Organization linky!

Add this button when you link up below!!

As the year winds down to a close (only 11 days left…wow!), I find myself looking around my room thinking about what worked and what didn’t.  This year, I’m happy to say that all of the organizing I did last year paid off!  There are only a few maintenance-type things that I want to take care of this summer!
Here are a few organizational things that did work this year.
I pulled out all of the pieces and parts of several kits I had in my room and organized the tubs by item.  Now, I don’t have to go scrambling through several kits to find enough dice for all of my students. 
The only thing I have to do in this cabinet is straighten them up a bit (ok, a lot).  Otherwise, the bins themselves stayed pretty organized all year. 

To go with all of my math cubbies, I have organized my station materials by skill.  This has been very helpful when I need to pull a station for a group needing to work on a specific skill.  I bought the magazine holders as Ikea.  Who doesn’t love Ikea?  Holla :)

One of the first projects I worked on last summer was the Teacher Toolbox.  You can read about it {here}. 

I still love it!  It is on my back counter next to my small group table and comes in handy.  I’m happy to say that it stayed super organized all year long…I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the kids don’t have access to it? J!
I also love my paper and pencil holder that my students use to get more supplies when needed.  There wasn’t much to destroy here, though. 

One of my favorite “organizational” items this year was my Student Information Binder.  (This was a freebie from someone last year but I don’t remember who…if it is you, please comment below so that I can give you credit!)

This is the first year I have used a binder to keep track of grades, IEPs, contact information, and student information.  I used the snazzy little tip from Kristen about adding tabs and I love it. (See the bottom right corner of the photo.)  Cut circles and tape with mailing tape to the edges.  Instant cute page tabs! One of the things I did this year (because I used a binder and had a place for them) was to keep all of my graded answer keys in one spot.  (See the top right corner of the photo.)
Why has it taken me almost 20 years to figure this out?  Seriously.  Don’t you just hate it when someone was absent and they took their test at a later time and you grade their paper later?  Now, I know exactly where to go to get the answer key.  I know, I know…lame.  But, this is the first year I didn't shove it in a pile on my desk or in a file somewhere never to be found again.  That pocket is pretty full.  It has all of the answer keys for every assessment I gave this year.  I might use a plastic sleeve next year. Maybe not.  Otherwise, I’m happy, happy, happy with my lame “ah-ha” moment.

What are your favorite organizational tips from this year?  What are you going to revamp?  Kristen and I would love to have you link up with us and share your “ah-ha” moments, too.  I love reading how other teachers organize so that I am able to find even better ways to do things.  Because, there usually is a much better way…

Grab the button at the top of this post and then link up below!  


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Optimum Organization Linky Party!



Hello everyone! My good friend Kristen and I would like to invite you to a linky party we are hosting later this week. And it's all about classroom organization!

Before the year winds down and you pack up, we would love it if you would join us and share some of your favorite organizational systems. What worked well for you this year? What systems will you be using again next year?

We need your expertise! Just think of all of the wonderful projects we can all plan for our summer days!


What do I need to do to link up?
  • Take some pics of your favorite organizational methods and systems in your classroom this week.
  • Blog all about these systems and techniques...how have they helped you this year?
  • Grab the code below to display the button in your post:
  • Link up with us! You can visit either of our blogs to join in!
When is the party?

We will be opening the linky this Wednesday...but please feel free to join in when you have a free moment later this week/weekend.

Please Note: The purpose of this linky is to provide new and veteran teachers a chance to come together and share ideas on how to get organized for a new school year.  Please join us and share your advice and expertise, but not links to products please. 
We hope to see you soon! :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

May Made It

Happy May.  As the year winds down, it's hard to get to everything.  Isn't it?  This is exactly the reason I'm looking forward to summer and the return (hopefully) of the Monday Made Its each week.  I've missed some focus.  I've missed being crafty.  It's so hard during the school year.  So hard in fact, that the only link ups this month are made by other people.

My daughter has been pretty crafty this week!

She's my biggest helper.  Remember the clipboards?



Take a look at what she made for me for Mother's Day:

She knows me.  The best part?  She wanted me to take it to school to hang in my classroom.  So, I did.

I didn't make this other one, either.  A parent and student made it for me and delivered it today:


My nails are already purple, by the way :)

Now, next month?  Watch out, people.  Game on.

Link up with my bud, Tara:

And check out all of the other craftiness out there.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five for Friday

What have you been up to this week? I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to show you a few snapshots of my week!


I don't have pictures of what we spent 90% of our time doing, however.  It was state testing week and I can't show you any pictures of testing.  The directions were very, very clear about that.

First up, remember how I told you that winning TOY didn't seem real until it was in black and white on the marquee?  Well, I had to take a picture in front of it to prove it to myself:

It still seems weird.  But weird in a good way.

May?  Where did the time go?  Do you see how that calendar is covering two cabinet doors?  My teaching bud, Charlene, came up with that idea and it is G.E.N.I.U.S. :)  We have very little wall space (triangle-shaped rooms...don't get me started).  So this is a great way to use cabinet doors.  I sliced the calendar in two with an Exacto knife.  It's perfect and has lasted all year without getting torn.

My next three pictures are all about Teacher Appreciation!  Look at what one of my sweeties made for me before the Teacher of the Year news:


And look at all of the beautiful creations from my students this week:


And, this morning, one of my little friends brought me this:

Cute, huh?

So there you have it...the other 10% of my week.  How was your week?

Teacher Appreciation Giveaway!!!

I hope that you have felt very appreciated this week! I am teaming up with some of my friends to show some more love!


One lucky teacher will win all of these FABULOUS prizes!











What a great bunch of prizes...wish I could enter :)
Enter below with the Rafflecopter! Contest ends Sunday night at Midnight. Good Luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#teachertalktuesday

What's that you say?  A hashtag?  I know!  Relax.  I'm not an expert yet, but I'm trying :)

I'm hoping that this will motivate me to take more/better pictures in my classroom.  I always seem to forget.


It even looks a little fancy and all.  A little.

Yes, this is our new read-aloud book.  It was a gift from a student {actually from twins...I teach both} from the book fair.  We voted today on our next book and this won!  I'm so glad it did.  I read this with Matthew (my son) last fall and we both loved it!

I started reading Wonder today and I've already cried.

You must read this book!

So, there you have it.  My first official #teachertalktuesday.

You can catch me on Instagram...yes, I have a few pictures up now:



Join everyone with this way to connect on Instagram:

See you there!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fourth Grade Common Core Workbook

Have you heard of this workbook?

The Fourth Grade Common Core Workbook is the largest collection of worksheets and activities for teaching the Fourth Grade Common Core State Standards.  This workbook, over 850 pages long, is full of activity centers, worksheets and posters perfect for implementing the Fourth Grade English Language Arts and Math Common Core Standards.  I remember seeing this last year for first and second grade and now one for fourth grade is available and I'm so excited!

This resource is perfect for helping you align your curriculum to the Common Core standards.  It is now available for you to purchase for only $39!  (I did notice a button on their page that advertised a 15% discount, too!) Take a peek at what is inside:


If you want to see more, you should head on over to this link:  Fourth Grade Common Core Workbook

This book is full of great activities and resources, so go and check them out today! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Five for Fri/Saturday...



Yesterday was a busy, busy day!  I didn't have a chance to link up because immediately after school {well, after a quick nap}, I had to race over with Sarah and another teen to the practice for Spring Formal!  It's tonight and I can't wait to share some pictures with you!

So, to start...here is my #1 that ties in to that:

This picture isn't really from this week.  It was taken back in March (I think) in preparations for tonight.  But, this is my beautiful daughter and her pretty dress for tonight!  I'm going to try to get some video of the event tonight to show you how amazing it looks with over 1,000 dancers on the floor!
#2:
This week has been a whirl-wind of celebration.  I wish every teacher could win TOY to get the praise we all deserve.  I've been showered with so many kind words, flowers, cards, etc.  Thank you all for your kindness this week.  I am so very humbled by the whole idea.  I hope I can live up to such praise.
#3:
Um, hello, Instagram.  Nice to get to know you a little.  I am trying to figure you out...who knew you had so many apps that could help me understand and work with you a little better.  I'm weeding through some of these apps to find my favorites.  Once I have my brain wrapped around it all, I'll try to post more to my new Fun in Room 4B Instagram.  You can follow my *almost* empty page {is it even called a page?}....hehe:
I've used Instagram a bit with my personal account, but never really posted much to it...just used it to make my pictures a little better {since I'm notorious for taking pictures only with my iPhone}.  Wish me luck on this new adventure :)
#4
My anchor charts....they had to come down :(  It's testing time in South Carolina...boo!  So these came down yesterday.  I took a snapshot of each one so that I could remember/recreate them next year.  Notice they are all color-coordinated and match my room.  I'm a little crazy like that.

Speaking of crazy....And I say this with undying affection {and a little bit of jealousy}...check out the 2nd grade teachers at my school:

Surely you recognize them?  It's Duck Dynasty, of course!  Friday was "C" day for ABC countdown. Second grade had "Camouflage and Cartoon Day".  These lovely ladies really got in to the celebration!  Kudos for wearing that ALL day {and loving it, too!}.  It makes me *almost* wish I taught lower grades again.

We are doing an ABC countdown, too.  It's just slightly less involved (as we have to keep our kids mellow and ready for testing *Blah*).

I took {this version} and adapted it to our needs.  Thanks, Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties :)

Since they were sweet enough to make it editable, you can adapt it to your needs, too.  Go check them out!

So there you have it....my week in a nutshell.  Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to check out more of Five for Friday/Saturday/Sundays....