Sunday, July 26, 2015

{Week 1} BTS In a Flash! Teacher MUST haves!


I just finished summer school on Friday, so now I can technically start my summer vacation. Wohoo! I have one month to complete my to-do list! Of course, half of that list involves school related things. First up is grabbing some of my favorites when they go on sale. While I am checking the Sunday sale flyers, I'm linking up with some other fabulous bloggers to share our teacher favs. I cannot wait to see what everyone else has linked up, before I start my annual back to school pilgrimages to Walmart, Staples, Target & Amazon! Besides the norm, my EC planner, flair pens, and other fun office must-haves, I am sharing with you today two essential teacher items you might not know about! 










Have you ever used one of these babies? These PaperPro staplers are AMAZING. Not only do they make simple stapling a fun task, but they make hanging bulletin boards a BREEZE! You barely need to apply force and staples shoot out like an air gun. They are kind of pricey though...between $10-$15. I will let you in on my top secret. Ready? Have you checked out the office supply part of CVS? Do you have a CVS rewards card? You know one of those free cards you scan every time to you in the store and receive coupons? Maybe I just go to CVS too much, but I earn Extra Care bucks like it's my job! This summer I actually got TWO of these staplers for free! You'd think I'd hit the lotto because I was so excited. The lady who rang out my order actually laughed because she had never seen someone so excited over a stapler before! Believe me...you NEED this! 




Another MUST have for any classroom is the 3M Heavy Duty Double Sided Tape! My jail cell, I mean classroom, has white cement walls that nothing attaches to. Since it is ridiculously hot, most of the time, the humidity pulls off anything and everything from the walls. I've had amazing luck with this awesome tape. It is pricey, but a little goes a LONG way! 

Nine years ago when I started teaching, a retired teacher invited herself to help set up my classroom. I had just finished my year long internship with this woman and had grown close to her. I was thrilled to be hired right after student teaching, but sad to see this teacher retire. She showed up with her hands FULL of supplies. She had a son in high school, but told me she had always wanted a daughter and always wanted to help "her" set up a classroom. He son wanted nothing to do with teaching, so she knew that was never going to happen. I was thrilled to be the replacement. To make a long story short, she brought me a TON of teacher essentials, which included a GIANT and I mean GIANT roll of this tape. It is so GIANT that I am still using it. I can just imagine how much it cost!!! I am so thankful for her and think of her every time I pull it out of the cabinet to use. 

These are my two essentials, but I cannot wait to check out all the other posts. I have a list next to me that is growing by the minute! Check back next week for more back to school information to help you prepare for a great year! :) 



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Advice for all teachers, new and old!

Hey Friends, 

I am blogging over at iTeach Fourth today! Check out this awesome post to give you some meaningful advice for the new school year! If you haven't heard of this blog, you need to check it out!

http://www.iteachfourth.com/2015/07/advice-for-all-teachers.html



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

FIVE Simple (& some free) Ways to make an iPhone Loud Enough for a Classroom!


I don't know about you, but my students LOVE when I use technology in the classroom. Just listening to music on my iPhone is a wonderful motivator, reward, and even a stress relief to many students. I have a very old CD player in my classroom, but honestly who even has CDs anymore? The radio doesn't work because the antenna is broken off, but yet I keep the boom box on my back table for a reason, which you can read about below.

Why would the classroom need to listen to my iPhone? Some of my favorite apps are audio apps like audible (for listening to chapter books read aloud), Pandora (for relaxation or holiday themed music), Scholastic (for articles read aloud, while we follow along with our magazines), any websites that read stories out loud, and even local news stations that have videos of current events that I want my students to listen to, but not necessarily see. 

#1. Have you ever heard of a Male Stereo Audio Cable? It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. It is a cable with a plug on both ends. One plug can go in the iPhone and the other in the CD player. When it is plugged in, the sound from the iPhone will come out of the CD player speakers and be loud enough for the whole classroom to enjoy. These cables are pretty cheap too! I've seen them for sale everywhere from CVS to Amazon!


#2.  I have no idea what this amazing speaker is called, I got it at a career fair and it is AMAZING. The only reason why I can't take it to school with me is because my husband snatched it for the PE office at his school. This portable speaker takes three AA batteries. All you do is press the on button and place your phone on top. The sound from this speaker is probably just as good as a iHome! If anyone knows what this is called, please let me know! It would be perfect for a listening station because there is nothing to fool around with and only one button. Students would get a kick out of being able to use it on their own!


#3. My favorite way because it is free! Grab a cup or even a bowl and place your iPhone inside. You will not believe the sound that will come out when you turn up the volume! I showed this to my mom and she was shocked! We used this technique while camping with a plastic solo cup and it still worked amazingly!


#4. iHome! I absolutely love my charging station/iHome. This year I am going to bring it to school with me because my phone tends to run out of power quickly, when I use it a lot. The speaker is SO loud and convenient and as a bonus, there is a digital clock on the front.


#5.  Here is another easy and free way to boost the volume on your iPhone. Have you tried this simple trick? I was skeptical at first, but all I did is cut a horizontal slit in a toilet paper roll and slid my iPhone inside. The music came pouring out. I KNOW it would work even better in a paper towel roll, so next time you empty some paper towels, save the roll. 


Need another reason to try out using your iPhone in class? Download the FREE QRCode Reader App and check out my most popular freebie in my TpT store! Print these beautiful task cards out and laminate them for easy access to any of the websites! If you already downloaded them, download them again for all the updates! I added 12 new websites that my class loved this year!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tech-Choices-Task-Cards-w-QR-Codes-1317720


Since I'm always learning and looking for new ideas, I'd love to know how you use your iPone/iPod in the classroom?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream...what TPT can do for me!

I am continuing with the TpT seller challenge this week. The challenge is titled "Dare to Dream" and I will say that we are very blessed to have discovered TpT! Robyn and I love creating our own materials in the classroom and being a member of TpT has inspired us to always think outside of the box. Not only has TpT helped us in our personal lives, but it has taken our teaching to a whole new level.

So in no particular order, because let's face it, paying off debt is a must, but so boring... here are my dreams. 

 
My husband and I purchased our first house, just a starter house, eight years ago. It was built in 1890, and is a cute little Victorian. Cute being the optimal word! So, we still live here, and have two kids. We are ready for an upgrade, with a big yard, so we can get chickens and a dog. Before we can think of selling, we need to update the house. This summer I am planning on getting a new floor put in on the lower level and possibly redoing the kitchen cabinets. 

When we sell this house, we will look for our forever home and hopefully be a little closer to school. We are currently commuting 40 minutes each way. Luckily, my husband teaches in the same district and we are allowed to enroll our children in the district we teach in. So everyday, the four of us journey 26 miles to school and 26 miles home. We spend a LOT of time in the car. 

I would REALLY like to go on a spring break with the family. Even a trip to Florida for a week would be FABULOUS. By April, we need a break from snow, and I'd love to be able to look forward to Disney, halfway through the school year! 

Before I can go on a vacation with the family, I need to pay off my credit card. I am working hard this summer doing curriculum work and teaching summer school, so I can start off the year without credit card debt. Let's see how that goes! :) 

So that's what I am working towards. Now that I have these dreams written down, they seem a little more attainable! 

Thanks so much to Third in Hollywood and friends for this great challenge!



Monday, June 15, 2015

Makeover Madness #TPTSellerChallenege

Good Morning, I am happy to be linking up with lots of friends, including The Peppy Zesty Teacherista for the first #TPTSellerChallenge: Makeover Madness! Well if you follow my TPT store, Facebook, or Instagram, you have seen I've been redoing a ton of products lately. If you don't follow me there, what are you waiting for!? Go click on those link and follow.

So anyways, I was scrolling through our store and came across a huge embarrassment! One of my favorite products, with a HORRIBLE cover.  I mean seriously...this cover didn't even begin to describe the awesomeness of the product. 

With a little creativity and time I changed it up...completely. 



Much better now, right? I don't know what was up with the previous cover, but I feel a whole lot better with the new one. I'd love to give a few away to my readers this week, so if you are reading this, leave a comment with your email and you might just be lucky enough to receive this in your inbox! 

Not sure if you could use it, or did you miss the giveaway? Check out the product listing by clicking here, or on the picture below! 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/AntonymSynonym-Word-Wall-Interactive-Vocabulary-Building-Bulletin-Board-1228883


4 more days of school for me! :) Wohooo


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nonfiction Biography/Revolutionary Project Results + FREEBIE included!


I had to share some of our adorable Informational Revolutionary projects with all of you. They are just the cutest, but don't take my word for it...check them out below! The pictures are very self explanatory. As you can see there are examples of Jackie Robinson, Ruby Bridges, Clara Barton, and Susan B. Anthony. 





Some students worked alone, while others chose to work in partnerships. Students spent time developing research questions, researching information, taking notes, planning, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing an informative essay on a revolutionary of choice. They then were allowed to use all of their creative juices to create a "Face in the Hole" poster display. The essay is glued  onto each display, in order, so projects can be presented on Monday. Students are now an expert on their revolutionary of choice, and will teach the class facts about his/her revolutionary as well as why the person they studied is considered a revolutionary.

Want to try something like this out with your class? Robyn and I put everything together into a step by step packet. Students were able to complete the whole project independently (or with a partner) with minimal adult support. This is always our goal for an end of year activity, so we were pretty excited! Grab the packet here for free! Just leave me a comment or tag me in an Instagram post to let me know how it went. I'd love to see your projects or ideas! :)

This project will not only wrap up our revolutionary unit, but also our school year. SIX MORE DAYS. I think I can, I think I can... 




Friday, June 5, 2015

Revolutionary Reports: Successfully Blending SS into ELA!

I am so excited to give you a sneak peek into our classroom this week. Although we only have 11 days left of school, we are super busy researching, writing, and creating revolutionary projects. I got this adorable idea from Deb Hanson's Instagram, but we changed it up to fit into our curriculum! The students chose a revolutionary to research, took notes, made a plan, and wrote an informative essay. They then cut out the essay, glued it onto special paper, cut a hole in the paper, and decorated! The students are so excited to be creative in class and are highly motivated. I will share more with you as soon as the students finish up, but this is what is going on so far!