Monday, September 16, 2013

Creating Class Community and a Freebie

Wow! The first few weeks of school have been nutty! Staying at school until 7 or 8 p.m. most know how it is. Lots of changes at the beginning of the year and such. Things should be slowing down now.
One of my favorite parts of the beginning of the school year is building classroom community. The best way to have a successful year is to set up a kind and caring community right from the start. So here are a few things I do.

Check out this book -->  Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

Everyone has an imaginary bucket. The bucket is filled with good thoughts. All day long your bucket is either emptying or getting fuller depending on how you're feeling about yourself. We read this book and a few more to discuss bucket filling and decide to be a class full of bucket fillers, not bucket dippers. We use this language throughout the year. It helps so much with preventing conflict and resolving conflict after lunch recess.

We have buckets in our class to write special notes to one another. Kids go crazy over this!


I tell my class that there are 26 of us in one little room for many hours each day. So how can we all get along and do our number one job...learning!? We create a class promise. All ideas are created by kids and I'm just there to help type it. You'll never see a list of rules posted in my classroom. Here's our promise:
My teammates and I decided to have students make minions this year as their "signature". We used to make paper plate faces with googly eyes and yarn. These minions are much cuter! Kids were ecstatic to say the least! 


All year we talk about putting "wrinkles" in others' hearts. When you are unkind, you can apologize, but you can never fully take the wrinkle away. I teach my class this little rhyme. (I don't know where I originally heard this, so if you know, tell me so I can give credit.)
"Before you speak
Think and be smart
It's hard to fix
A broken heart"

My class has literally taken this to heart. We're developing kind, caring, and respectful students.
   Now for the freebie. I have this poster hanging next to the heart above. Click the picture below to download for use in your classroom. Feel free to print it for other classrooms at your school.
(The top letters look cut off at the top of this picture, but the actual PDF file is correct.)

What do you do to develop your classroom community?

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Flexible Grouping FREEBIE

I'm back from visiting my new niece, Elena. She's so wonderful; it was hard to leave. There's nothing like a newborn baby snuggling up and sleeping on your chest. While I was there, I got to visit cousin Amy's nautical themed classroom. That was so much fun! I can't wait to see your final pics when your classroom is finished, Amy! Keep checking back for those.

I've been working away on my classroom this week. I have to finish soon because starting Monday we have meetings, meetings, meetings. We also have a brand new teacher on our team this year, so I'll be busy helping her. 

This year I have 28 second graders! That means my middle name will be Flexibility. For reading groups I usually type lists of who is in each group, but when I switch a student's group I sometimes almost always forget to update the cute, colorful list. And you know that drives kids crazy! So this year, I'm going to have more flexible grouping and an easier way to shuffle kids around. Here's what I created to help:

 I'm obsessed with this border I created. I've used it on every sign in my classroom!
 I'm going to write all my students' names on clothespins and pin them to the signs. The signs will be hung together with some sort of ribbon.
 Grab a free copy for your own classroom. Click on either pic to download. You'll get a zip file of images for Groups 1 - 8. You can copy the images into a document to re-size them for what you need and print. Mine are about 4 in x 7 in each. Let me know if you need more groups and I'll make them.
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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Big News: New Grade!

So big big news! I will be teaching fourth grade this year. 
Fourth Grade Blogger

 Feeling very excited about the change and I am looking for classroom input.   I have chosen a nautical theme.  It has been tricky finding accents which are fourth grade appropriate, so I have started to create a few on my own.  
I created this by cutting up a laundry bag and hanging it in the book corner.

I have a huge open space above my eight classroom windows.  Several teachers frame the space with a border and then display vocabulary words as they are introduced.   I went shopping in hopes to find a nautical border but came home empty handed.  Figured it was time to be crafty! Made the flags and tied them to twine.  It actually adds tons of color and life to my plain space.  Now the Math word wall is ready to be filled with vocabulary. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm an Aunt!

Yes, I am Cousin Katie on this little blog, but to this sweet bundle of joy I am AUNT KATIE!!!
She was born yesterday, July 17th. 7lbs 10oz
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Look at those cheeks! I can't wait to meet her!
Cousin Amy already got to meet her yesterday. Those darn 1,000 miles between us are killing me!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Made it Monday (on Tuesday)

Is it too late for Made it Monday? Yesterday I spent most of the day re-doing our blog. I haven't done much with it since a year ago when we first started. I'm (we're) going to do better this year. This is our very first linky (and I did something wrong because my name showed up on 4th Grade Frolics blog, instead of our blog name. I'll figure that one out soon.).
So yesterday I made our new background, header, button, links to email, TPT, and Pinterest. I also made a new signature. What do you think?

We had a free blog template from The Cutest Blog on the Block that was so adorable! But since I've been reading more about blog design (check out all of Megan's tips), I wanted to fancy ours up a bit and couldn't do that with a free template.




Cousin Katie's Email

Cousin Katie's Pinterest

Cousin Katie's TPT

All that using just PowerPoint and Paint. I'm feeling accomplished. :) It's nothing too fancy, but I love that I created it all. Seriously read Megan's blog for help. She's so helpful! Now all I need to know is how to get the Pinterest "P" text for that button. 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Busy Summer and Bubble Borders

A month of summer is already over! Can you believe how quickly it's going? I've been up each morning before 6:30 a.m. I'm either working out or tutoring in the morning. I love being on a schedule. Every weekend Scott and I have gone white water kayaking. It can get pretty intense, but it's oh so much fun! I say that I fall out just once every summer and that happened a week and a half ago. We're talking some big bruises on my knee and thigh from crashing into rocks while out of the kayak trying to keep my head above water. Ouch!

I've also been busy creating! While experimenting, I realized how much I love to make borders. Since one of my favorite things is dots or bubbles, I've created some new bubble borders. I love them! There are 18 in the pack for sale on my TPT store.


I also made these cute Off to School posters! There's Off to Preschool, Off to Kindergarten, Off to 1st Grade, Off to 2nd Grade, Off to 3rd Grade, and Off to School. Click the link to purchase these.