Sunday, August 18, 2013

TPT Sale+ Classroom Decor + Great Thinkers Poster Pack Freebie!

Well, I haven't put any classroom decor pictures up because I haven't seen my classroom yet! My school is brand new and has hit some snags in the building process. 

So our school year is pushed back a week. I am itching to get into my classroom to get started! 

But, it has allowed me to take extra time to work on my classroom decor set! 

I am doing a "Creative Thinking" theme in my classroom and I just finished my set! I just uploaded it to TPT and I'm so excited to get it printed and laminated! It features lightbulbs, bright yellow and blue and I think will brighten my classroom.

I'm so excited about using it to inspire my kids. I'm hoping by having a thinking-centered environment it helps to challenge them to think deeper and to always be focused on thinking differently.

Today I am going to be filling my cart with great TPT goodies. Don't forget to use the code: BTS13 to save 28%! 

I thought I would share this Great Thinkers Quote Posters freebie to inspire your little ones as well! Included are 10 Quote posters from great thinkers! Enjoy!


What theme are you doing in your classroom to inspire your students?

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Strategies to get your Writers to use Juicy Words

At the beginning of the year, it never fails that the kids have lost their juicy language over the summer. Boring writing is coming in hot during the beginning. The first day comes and you're doing those fun "Write about your Summer" activities and boom there it is!

I like summer.
I went swimming.
It was fun.

Oh boy. Here are a few strategies that I've used that have been extremely helpful.

Strategy #1: The Hanging Thesaurus
 Last year I created a Hanging Thesaurus. I printed these words out, laminated them, and taped them to garden wire. (I like the twisty, swirly look). My best teacher-friend in Chicago printed hers on bright paper and used jumprings to connect the words. You could also use a pocket chart!

It was a big help to have the synonyms visually displayed throughout the classroomWhenever I saw "It was nice" or "I liked the food" I would gently nudge my students to check out the Hanging Thesaurus to see if there was a synonym for the overused word. This was especially helpful for students who were afraid to take risks with using words that were bigger and maybe they didn't know how to spell. It was an easy transition for editing for them to just casually walk around the room and check out some words they could replace. I had two parents ask if they could have a copy of the Hanging Thesaurus so they could use it at home because their kids loved it so much. 

It helped my students learn new words and not feel intimidated by using them in their writing. I highly recommend using this or something similar to give your kids immediate access to more expressive language! 

P.S. The Printable Hanging Thesaurus is on SALE now in my TPT store!

Strategy #2: Siesta vs. Fiesta Words Mini-Lesson

This idea came from the SMILE Writing program. Of course, I prefer Lucy Calkins' Writing Workshop to SMILE, but I did find this lesson very engaging and useful.

I gave examples of Siesta Words (boring, over used words) and we brainstormed some Siesta words together (run, said, like, etc.) 

I gave some examples of Fiesta Words (exciting and juicy words) and we brainstormed some of these together (ambled- yes, one of my gifted first graders thought of ambled-, exclaimed, enjoy, etc.)

I then passed out maracas. We practiced shaking the maracas like it was a fiesta when we heard fiesta words. Then we practiced faking sleep with a siesta word. 

Next, I instructed them that while I read Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse and I stopped and repeated a word, they were to either shake their maracas or fake sleep depending whether it was Fiesta or Siesta. It was a great lesson and I was able to tell easily if they were getting it (when its dead silent from faking sleep and I heard a maraca, I knew they hadn't quite gotten it yet!)

P.S. If you haven't read Skippyjon Jones books, do it!
Strategy #3: Thesaurus in the Writing Center:

I kept a few copies of Chilldren's Thesauruses in the Writing Center and did a Mini-Lesson on how to use them. There is also a great Brainpop video that helps too!

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Currently August

Greetings! Can you believe August is here already?

I am especially excited this year because I have taken a new job at a brand new school! I will be a K-2 Gifted Resource Teacher. I am really pumped because the school, the staff, and the administration is fabulous! I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and I can't wait to get started!

I am linking up with Farley's Currently Linky to discuss what's happening!
Listening I'm loving Fitz and the Tantrums right now and can't wait to see them  along with Passion Pit, and Two Door Cinema Club this Fall.

Loving My new job! I think this is the perfect fit for me! I am so excited to get started and meet all new people! I love that my job will be to keep my students thinking critically and creatively all day long!

Thinking  Lately, I have been having fun creating classroom decor sets for many teachers. (And yes, I do take requests!) But now seeing as it is August 2nd, I need to start designing my own! I am doing a Creative Thinkers theme for my classroom. It will feature famous great thinkers and lots of lightbulbs and bright colors. So far, I have sketched some lightbulbs that will be featured in it. I will blog about it when I'm finished!

Wanting Our school is still finishing being built so I literally cannot go into my classroom. The building is scheduled to be finished next Friday. I can't wait!

Needing to go to the grocery. Okay, I'm going to, I promise, right after blogging, pinteresting, writing, drawing, making crafts for my classroom. I'm on my way.

B2S Must Haves
Coffee- A definite must-have, plus it's a great way to reach out and meet a new friend. "I'm going on a coffee run, do you need one?"
A Fresh Planner- I can be a little scattered, so it's imperative for me to keep an up to date calendar. I already put the report card dates, professional development, and days off in mine!
Knowledge that it'll all work out- My thought is "I've done it before, I can do it again." Every year I feel a panic a few days before the first day because I think I really may not get it together, but every year it comes together (and usually aesthetically pleasing). So I have to tell myself: Don't worry, you got this!

Don't forget to reach out to the newbies at your school, and on that note:
How do you take your coffee, teacher-friend?

I take mine black, hardcore style.

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