Saturday, August 1, 2015

EDITABLE Homework Menus for the ENTIRE Year

I have a love/hate relationship with homework.  As a teacher, I want the parents to know what we are working on in school.  As a parent, it's a little more complicated.  I want to know what my child is working on in school, and how she is doing.  However, I DO NOT want to spend my entire evening working on homework!  We are busy, as most families are.  We have something going on (gymnastics, dance, soccer, ...) almost every night of the week during the school year.
With this in mind, I wanted to try something new for this coming school year.  I am going to be sending home a weekly homework menu with activities that review what we are working on in class.  These menus will give the students choice as to what activities they would like to complete for the week.  It also gives them the entire week to work on it.  So, if they have basketball practice on Monday and Wednesday, they can plan to do their homework for the week on Tuesday evenings.
This project has been in the works ALL summer, and I am beyond thrilled to have it finished!  I knew that I wanted to make it editable because as much as I like to plan out the year, I have to be flexible.  I may need to change out some of the activities to fit our needs.  I also knew that it was important to make it editable for YOU!  Your curriculum may be different than mine.
I will be placing these in a homework folder along with a notebook.  The students will take these home on Monday, and will not have to return them until Friday.
I also included a monthly homework option, if that is something that would work better for you.
In this packet, you will find a zipped folder with two separate files.  The first one is a secured PDF where I have typed in all of the boxes.  I have monthly calendars, as well as two different weekly calendar options for the entire year.
The second file is an editable file.  You will be able to type into each of the boxes to make this packet work for you.
If you'd like to check this out, click on the image below.

Now, here is even better news!  Did you know that the annual Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale is coming up?
 My entire store will be on sale on Monday and Tuesday, but you can go ahead and start putting things in your cart or on your wish list now.
Happy shopping!

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sight Word Sentence Trees

Fluency is such an important aspect of reading, but it's often something that we only think of working on with our highest readers.  I am constantly trying to think of ways to work on fluency even with my beginning readers.
These Sight Word Sentence Trees will be a perfect way for my students to work on sight words AND fluency.
The cards come in both a color version and a black and white version.  I printed the black and white version onto colored paper to make them more eye catching for my students.
These cards will be laminated and placed on a metal ring.  Early finishers will be able to grab these to practice.  I can also throw these into a center for independent practice.  These Sight Word Sentence Trees will also be perfect if I have a parent volunteer that can work with students.
I love that once I prep a couple sets of these for my class, they can provide practice for my students for the rest of the year.
You can check these out by clicking on the picture below.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Integrating Science and Social Studies

How many times have you said that there just isn't time in your school day to fit everything in?  I know I have said it plenty of times.  Now...this is not necessarily saying that I want to have a longer school day, because I know how tired the students and I are by the end of the day.  I can't imagine making it longer.  However, we can work smarter, not longer.  Science and social studies often get pushed to the side in order to fit in reading, writing, and math.  By not teaching science and social studies to our students, we are doing them a disservice.  So, what do we do?  INTEGRATE!

You can truly integrate science and social studies into almost every part of your day.
Here is a break down of how I integrate science and/or social studies into my day.
Morning Meeting
We begin our morning with a Morning Meeting.  During this time, we greet each other, discuss our day, and sing a song or read a poem together.  I LOVE to integrate our science or social studies theme into our morning songs.
I pull a lot of my songs from my A Year of Songs packet.
I LOVE nonfiction books!  Kids LOVE nonfiction books!  When I first started teaching, I purchased books galore.  I eventually discovered that I had a huge collection of fiction books, but my nonfiction collection was lacking!  Over the past couple of years, I have been stocking up on nonfiction books.
Some of my favorites are:
Smart Kids Books by Roger Priddy
National Geographic Readers
I love that these come in different levels.
Magic School Bus
Scholastic True or False

There are tons more, but those are just some of my favorites that come to mind.
I also use my monthly Nonfiction packets.
We read the passages together, and then go back into the text to highlight the answers to our questions.  We also use the graphic organizers and writing pages included in the packets.
I recently finished up my August and September packets in order to complete my ENTIRE year.
My August packet includes units on Watermelons, Germs, Safety Skills (including bike safety, car safety, and stranger danger), and Community Helpers.
My September packet includes units on Apples, Johnny Appleseed, The Constitution, Leaves, and States of Matter.
I truly believe that writing is the easiest subject to integrate your science and social studies curriculum.
We are constantly writing about our unit of study.  The students love to research facts, and write about what they know.
This is not an area that I can integrate into every day, but I still do it when I can.  We graph, sort, and complete word problems about our unit of study.

Integrated Studies
We have a 30 minute block at the end of our day for Integrated Studies.  This is when I really dive deep into our science and social studies topic.
We create anchor charts, complete experiments, read more nonfiction text, etc. during this time.

I LOVE integrating science and social studies into our day.  Integration allows for children to use what they are learning into many different formats.  It helps make connections across the curriculum.  Integration ties everything together!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Must Have Monday

I'm linking up with Freebielicious today for Must Have Monday to discuss some of my must have's that I need for my school year.
During the summer, I begin my "back to school orders."  Somehow I convince myself that if I spread the orders out, instead of just doing one big order, that I'm not quite spending as much money. Ha!  Those little bills don't look as bad as one big bill.
1. I have been ordering these brochures from Vistaprint for the past couple of years, and I still LOVE them.
I am always pleased with the quality of the brochures.  I pass them out at our Back to School Night.
2.  I always order these cardboard magazine boxes from IKEA.
I use these for Read to Self boxes.  I have seen teachers posting some nice, plastic ones from Walmart that I may need to check out though.
3.  Mr. Sketch Markers are my absolute favorite markers for anchor charts.
4.  I LOVE these resource folders from Really Good Stuff.
I use these to hold their homework in their LION books (parent-teacher-student communication books), so my students have a resource folder that travels with them.
With a baby that is STILL not sleeping through the night, I'm thinking more than one cup may be needed at the start of the school year.
What are your back to school must haves?
Head over to Freebie-licious and link up.


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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Procedures for the 1st Week of School

Dare I say is almost time to head back to school.  We have three more weeks before we go back.  I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone.  I swear it was just May last week!
Last year, I posted a list of procedures to teach on the first week of school.
As we know, the first week of school is ALL ABOUT procedures!!  Taking the time at the beginning of the year to teach the procedures for how your classroom will run, will save you SO much time later on.  Your students need to know the procedures and expectations for everything.  There have been years where I have made the mistake of thinking that they knew what to do in certain situations, but I quickly learned the importance of going over every little thing.  I like to keep this checklist handy during the first couple weeks of school to make sure that I don't miss anything.
I added a quick checklist this year, which will allow me to check off when I have taught that particular procedure.  I probably won't check it off of the list until we have gone over it for a couple of days, and I am confident that my students know it.
You can click on the picture below to head over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and download this FREEBIE.
What are some of your MUST TEACH back to school procedures?

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