Saturday, June 27, 2015

Teacher Tips: Bathroom Passes

Last year, I started something I had never used before - bathroom passes.  

I found these at Hobby Lobby yesterday.  They also had black pocket charts! Scream!

Now, I don't the hand sanitizer bottle or have the students bring the pass with them to the bathroom.  

It's because there's no way I would want to touch it after it was in the boys bathroom and I figured that they would leave it in the bathroom.

Before I continue, you should know that I have a parapro with me in first grade.  (Don't hate me.) Sometimes the kids would play us and end up in the bathroom together for a gab session.  You know, meeting in the bathroom is the thing to do in first grade.

This year, I put one boys and one girls pass on the board.  In order to go to the bathroom, they had to ask and put the pass at their desk.  I set the tone at the beginning of the year that only one student could go at a time.  The pass made it easy to spot who was there, especially when the fire alarm went off!

Here's to hoping that this helps you and doesn't take you eight years to figure out! ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Flashback: Measurement

During the school year, I always intend to blog but you know how that goes.  Throughout the summer, I'm going to be doing "Flashbacks" to things my students did in the classroom.  It's going to be a random hodgepodge of stuff, so hold onto the ride!

Liquid Measurement!  This can be tricky for student and adults.  I use three methods to cover liquid measurement.

1. If you haven't heard of Gallon Land, you are missing out!  I wish someone would have taught me this when I was younger!  I heard about it back in the day when I would search ideas on the ProTeacher Forums.

Lesson Plan Diva made a free booklet about Land of Gallon.

It's so effective that I had a former parent email me this year asking about it.  I was so flattered that she remembered something her daughter brought home two years later!

2. Gallon Guy is a popular choice when learning about liquid measurement.  My templates were literally from 1990.  It was time for an update!

I made four choices for the heads (2 boys and 2 girls) and let the students choose which head they wanted.

Helpful Hint:  Don't pass out everything at once.  Pass out the gallon, have the students cut it our and glue it to the head.  Then pass out the pints and follow the same step (except they glue it to the gallon).  It is really easy for student to get behind and lose pieces.  I usually know who my slow cutters are, so I help them cut out one or two pieces as the other students are working.  It's helpful to have a sample on the board too.

3. This year I made a liquid conversion short that students could use to refer to.

We worked together to make a color code together and talked about each type of liquid measurement.

I really think that this one fit the best with my students.  It was a great, easy visual organizer that they could easy refer to in completing activities.

You can find the templates to these last two activities in my How Much? {A Liquid Capacity Unit}

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Teacher Tips: Glue Sponges

Each year, I make little adjustments to help my classroom a bit smoother.  Sometimes all the ideas on Pinterest can be overwhelming, but over the next few weeks I hope to share a few things that made my life easier this past school year.

Glue sticks are my nemesis.  As soon as the school supplies are out, I make myself buy $5 worth of glue sticks every time I visit Target or Wal-Mart.  I figured $5 here or there in the summer would help my pocket later on in the school year.

Um, Target let's talk.  School has been out for exactly a month and you are already putting out school supplies!  I don't start school until August 13th!

On this trip to Target, I successfully avoided buying glue sticks because I have finally tried the best solution....Glue Sponges!!!

Now, we always find these new ideas over the summer, right?  Then we try it with our new students while trying to teach routines and expectations.  Some of our new ideas fail.  BUT I think this is because are students are still trying to figure out our classroom.

I decided to try out glue sponges the last month of school.  I had a class that loved glue sticks as much as I did.  They named their glue sticks and carried home the empty glue sticks for the memories.  #truestory.

Here's what I found using glue sponges:

  1. Students don't have to get out of their seat to get a new glue stick, throw away a glue stick, or look for a glue stick lid.
  2. Cost effective - I bought containers and sponges at the Dollar Store.
  3. Lasts longer than glue sticks
  4. No chunks of glue on papers
  5. Perfect for interactive notebooks!  Glue was one of my biggest hesitations in using interactive notebooks.
  1. Students have to share glue containers. Luckily I had a very easy going class last year that could work through sharing.  I know I'm not going to be lucky every year.
  2. Students have to bend/move craft pieces around a little bit to get glue on all parts.  That takes some getting used to!
  3. You need to make sure that students close the containers all of the way so the sponges don't dry out.
I was really afraid to use glue sponges, but I'm so glad I did!  I know the learning curve at the beginning of the year will be a little higher for my new firsties, but it will be worth it.  I'll be able to keep more money in my pocket and students won't be moving around so much.

Here are the steps to making glue sponges.

1. Gather sponges, containers and glue.  

Yes, that's my dog sleeping in the background. :)

I used large containers so I could fit two sponges.  Think about the crafts that you do and how students will need to glue long pieces sometimes.  I also didn't want any container that was too deep.

2.  Put the sponges at the bottom of the container.  

Pour about 2 glue bottles on top of the sponges.  At school, we have the big bottle of Elmer's glue and I just poured until the sponges were throughly covered.

3. Let sit overnight so the glue can absorb into the sponge.  It will be the perfect stickiness in the morning.

4.  You want to prevent the glue sponges from drying out, so once a week use a spray bottle to give them a light mist.

Looking for more tips for the upcoming school year?  Check out The Primary Peach's latest blog post!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Makeover Madness Part 2

The makeover bug hit me hard!  I've redone two more of my packets.  Check out the differences!

I added more cards, changed the font and cover to I Have, Who Has Game: Contractions Edition.

Christmas in the summertime!  Reindeers on Strike went through a BIG revision. 

Both packets are 20% through tonight at midnight 6/21.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge: Makeover Madness

I'm so excited to be a part of the TPT Seller Challenge!  This week's challenge was to make over a product in our store.  You know the one that you cringe when you find out you sold it.  The cringe means you need to update it!  

I selected my Landforms Unit. It was literally the one of the first things I made.   remember how I searched for hours on where to get clip art and the "fun" fonts.  (Hint: If you're just starting out, check out KG Fonts and EduClips on TpT.)

I love cover pages with real images!!  They always catch my eye when I'm scrolling to look for things on TpT.  I changed the font to something less cutesy, but more readable and crisp.  There were only 12 cards in the I Have, Who Has? Game so I expanded it to 20 cards.

Here's a big snapshot of everything in the packet!

I also got inspired to create Landform Posters using real images.  You can print these out to display in your classroom or you can project them on your board. 

You can purchase the bundle for 40% off.  You are almost getting one of the packets for FREE!!

Or you can purchase All About Landforms for 20% off.

Both are on sale until Saturday, 6/20.

It's not too late to join in the Makeover Madness!  Check out the details for this week HERE.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Paper Bag Book Report: K-2

Today I'm linking up with A Dab of Glue Will Do for Winner Wednesday!  It's a linky that takes place the first Wednesday of every month.  I'll choose a popular product (or maybe something new since I'm in creation mode) from my TpT store and you can win it.  All you have to do it enter your name into the Rafflecopter.  

I decided to choose my Paper Bag Book Report K-2.  It's my most popular item in my store and it's a real life saver!  I have used this in my classroom in two ways. First, my students complete a report as a class activity and I only print out the templates from the packet. Secondly, I have sent out the instructions and templates as a take home book report. Students will present their book report to the class. Grading is easy using the rubrics provided!

There are 3 options in the packet for you to choose from.

Option 1: Students will create a cover for their fiction book and write the characters, setting and summary of their book. 

The students will select items that represent their book to place inside the bag. There is an option of 3 items or 5 items (2 sets of directions for you to choose from).

Option 2: Students will create a cover for their fiction book and write the main idea and 3 details. Students will also write about the characters and setting of the book.

Option 3: Students will create a cover for their non-fiction book. Students will identify the topic, choose a vocabulary word to define, and write 3 facts about the topic. Students will also fill out a "Is It Non-Fiction?" form to ensure that their chosen book fits the assignment.

My students complete option 1 because I find that it's the easiest for their first book report in first grade.  They are so thrilled to have a book report and feel like a "big kid."

Here are some samples.

Students have to send in 3 to 5 items that represent the bags.  When the students complete a sample one in class, I emphasize that they can draw objects if they can't find something at home that fits into the theme.  

How cute is that Emily Elizabeth?!?
Grading is so easy with the rubrics provided.  It seriously is the fastest thing I grade all year long!  I always send home a rubric with the packet information so the parents know what to expect too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't win or you just have to have it right now, head on over to my TpT store to grab it.

If you want a chance to win some more items, be sure to head on over to A Dab of Glue Will Do!