Saturday, August 16, 2014

Storing Classroom Pointers Is a Breeze

Welcome to another Bright Ideas post and to a new school year!  I have joined over 100 other bloggers to share classroom tips that will hopefully save you some time this year.

Storing pointers can be such a pain in the neck!  Pointers leaning against the wall, resting on whiteboard ledges, lying on the floor, etc.  In my classroom I have several that we use for different purposes, but they need to be kept in one tidy place in order to prevent me from going nuts.  I like my students to choose which one they want to use during calendar time, so having them accessible to kindergarteners is also a must.

Containers and tall vases inevitably tip over, but this storage crate doesn't!  I simply turned it upside down and slid the pointers into the openings, which keeps them in place.  It's so easy to store many different pointers (time to make another trip to the Dollar Store) and my students easily find what they are looking for each day.  We are in our fifth week of school so I can safely say it works!

This particular wire basket came from Ross, but a plastic file crate or something similar would work just as well!

If you like this Bright Idea, consider joining me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more ideas.  For more bright ideas from other bloggers, browse the link up below and find some that speak to you.  This is my favorite part!  Happy idea shopping!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's Time For Some Spring Cleaning!

Tomorrow I will be in my classroom working to prepare for my kiddos to come back next week.  Spring Break is nearly over and I want to do some spring cleaning in the classroom and on TpT.  I can't wait to take advantage of the awesome sale my friends and I are throwing all weekend! Click on the image below or scroll to the end of this post to see a list of stores on sale.  There will be tons!

To Do List:

1. Clean out my wish list. Not even sure what's in there anymore.
2. Make sure I give feedback on all items I have purchased on the website.  Want those credits!
3. Move all of my most wished for items into my cart. 
4. Shop for items in the following stores that will be on sale ALL WEEKEND (see link below).
5. Make a big purchase and download everything all in one shot.  Yeah, right!  It will take me all weekend, but that's OK.

Ambitious of me to do all this before doing anything else in my classroom, but I have to take advantage of the amazing sale going on.  Stores will have up to 20% off and mine is included!  All of my products will be 20% off March 28-31.  I'm planning on adding a spring item to the mix, so watch for that!

Happy shopping!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop: Organizing Student Work and Parent Forms

Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  It doesn't matter where you start because this linky is circular.  You will end up back at the beginning after visiting each blog.  If you don't want to visit all blogs, you can choose the topics you want to read by viewing the links at the end of this post.  Thanks for visiting!

Keeping track of paperwork is an issue for us all!  When I started teaching, I began to glue check off sheets to a manilla envelope, laminate it, score the opening with a pair of scissors, and voila!  A perfect place to store important papers.  I used it to check off who turned in field trip permission slips, emergency forms, reading logs, etc. by simply gluing a list of student names onto one side and laminating the envelope.  It was great to be able to write on it with an overhead projector pen and then wipe it off when finished.

It evolved into much more.  Here is an example of my field trip folders that parents bring with them on trips:

These puppies have been around for sixteen years and are still going strong! 

I began to use these manilla folders to store worksheets and activities that students could complete for extra practice when they finished their work.  I line new ones up each month on my whiteboard edge and students love choosing activities if they have extra time.  I never have to worry about losing the master because it's on the envelope!

Two years ago I realized that I could eliminate the need to laminate folders if I purchased these fine folders on Amazon or my local office supply store:

These are amazingly helpful!

I also use them to collect work from students.  I can keep track of who turned in paperwork that way.  I love this system!

Thanks for reading my bright idea post!  The next bright idea is from Tanya at A+ Firsties.  She has a great post about guided writing journals.  Check it out!

You can also search by topic using the link ups below and move along to any other blog in the blog hop!

Thanks again for visiting my blog!

Friday, February 28, 2014

What Have You Bought on TpT?

I love a good sale!  My cart is full and I am still looking for more must-have products from sellers.  What are your favorites?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Are You a Google Ninja?

Have you attended a Google Summit training for educators yet?  It's all the rage right now and my district is definitely jumping into it with both feet.

It began with a training at my district office to learn how to use Google Drive features with my students in the classroom as well as to share docs with parents and teachers.  I teach kindergarten so I didn't expect to hear that I could use the Drive with my kiddos, but the trainer is a K teacher who gave me some great ideas.  Just uploading a simple doc that they can practice typing word family words onto is fun for them.  Best of all, I received a Samsung Chromebook to use in my classroom!

My principal is really into Google and Twitter so eleven of us (yes, eleven) were able to attend a Google Summit training for two days in Napa.  No, there was no time for wine tasting.  :(

One of the speakers was Jaime Casap, who is inspirational to say the least.  He refers to himself as a "Global Education Evangelist", which I love.  Here is a link to one of his presentations at a TedxTalks:

We saw several presentations each day at the Summit and learned a ton about how to use our new Chromebooks in the classroom.  I even got this snazzy travel bag for my device.

Since we are not a 1:1 school, we were amazed at what other schools are doing out there with technology.  I would love to know if you are at a 1:1 device school and, if so, what is your favorite activity to do with your students?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Catching Up!

Hello, remember me?  I'm the author of this blog who has been away for a bit.  Well, OK, more than a bit.  My last blog post was on Halloween.  Embarrassing, but for good reason!

My husband and I opened a new wine tasting room near our home and since we don't have any employees, it's just us keeping it open.  Fortunately, we have had Tuesdays off together for a few weeks since tourism slows down in the winter, but it certainly hasn't given me a lot of time to pay attention to my blog.  Excuses over!

Here is a very brief recap of what we have been up to in kindergarten (I moved down from second grade, remember?) this year:

My little ones performed the cutest alphabet holiday show for parents.  The girl on the left was "S" for snowflakes and the girl on the right was "C" for candy canes.  The boy in the middle (don't you love his striped pj's?) was "G" for gifts.  He wore suspenders attached to a wrapped cardboard box that surrounded him and was so darling!

 We did Elf on a Shelf for the first time this year.  My teaching partner told me about it and we watched the movie, which got me hooked.  Where have I been all of this time?  It was fun to hide him each day.  I only used him to get my students to behave ONE TIME (so no criticism, please!) and it was to get them to stop picking their noses.  Worked like a charm!

Here are some of my teaching buddies who dressed up for our "Wacky Tacky Winter Wear Day" at school.  I wasn't there that day so no pictures of me.  Phew!

One of our students is really hooked on Biscuit books and he read one to the class.  It was so cute seeing him show the pictures to the class as he read each page!

These are the adorable clay snowmen that the class made this winter.  They were fired in our kiln and clothed with scraps of fabric.  We have two amazing retired women coming in each week just to do clay projects with our kindergartners.  Isn't that cool?

 Oh, the 100th Day of School.  What a busy, fun, busy, exciting, busy day.  We made (and ate) all kinds of fun things!

Building a structure using 100 cups!
We made my favorite valentine holders (see post on how to make them HERE) and filled them with goodies.  It's amazing how fancy their gifts were this year.  We can thank Pinterest for that!

 We did some fun candy heart science together.  We dropped candies in water that I carbonated using my Soda Stream and watched them dance around.  They loved watching them move, sink, float to the top, and change the color of the water.
We are currently learning about community workers and a wonderful parent visited us with his cool BMW motorcycle.  Due to budget cuts, he spends five years working as a police officer and then spends five years working as a firefighter.  That's two careers to train for!  We will be visited by others including a physician, a PG&E lineman, a postal worker, a dental hygienist, and a principal.  Lots of activities will follow!

Lastly, we got a new rug for our classroom and we love it.  It's so bright, reviews shapes and colors, and we were able to assign seating for whole class instruction.  Our principal used a coupon that was emailed to us and it arrived just a few days later.  I highly recommend it if you are looking for a new rug!

Well, that's just some of the fun we have had the past few weeks.  I am so excited to get back to blogging and making teaching products for my store.  Have you heard about the huge sale at TpT this week?  I'm filling my cart with products today.  My entire store will be 20% off and if you use the promo code below you can get another 8% off.

What are you stocking up on?  I'd love to get some more ideas!