Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Games To Teach Place Value

Aloha friends! Many of you know I am part of a collaborative blog called The Elementary Chalkboard (formerly known as the Primary Chalkboard).

I recently created a post on how I use different games to teach place value.

It has some fun simple games to help you teach this important skill.  Make sure to click on the picture above to head over and check it out!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bouncy Bands

Aloha friends!  I hope the weekend is finding you well rested and ready for a new week.

This year, like most years, I have some wiggly boys who have an incredibly hard time focusing and finishing their work.  They are highly capable, but spend more time out of their seats getting drinks, going to the bathroom and wandering around the room.

I came across this site for Bouncy Bands and read all the information about this simple tool that could help my students stay seated and focused.

I spoke with Scott over at Bouncy Bands and he sent me a set for a 
chair and a desk to try out and review in my classroom.

They were super simple to install and I had them on each one in less than 5 minutes.

The rubber band is pretty thick and I can see that they are very well made and will hold up a long time.

When my kiddos came in the next day they immediately sat down and started bouncing their feet on the bands.  I didn't say anything, I just watched them play around with them at first.  

I then told them to get started on their morning work and they did as their feet kept wiggling the whole time.

I talked with them both later and I told them the bands were there to help them wiggle and move while they were working.  I wanted to see how they used them throughout the week.

On Friday I asked them if they liked the bands and they both said yes. I'm not sure they knew that the point of them was to keep them both in their seats, but I noticed they didn't get up as much as usual.  They also didn't tip their chairs like they always do. I don't think anything could keep either of them in their seats for a very long time, (maybe duct tape) but they were both definitely more focused!

The kids around them were a bit jealous and they all wanted to have bands on their chairs too.  I am planning to write a Donor's Choose project to get bands for all of my chairs.  The Bouncy Bands site has a sample application to make the process really simple.

They also have some great statistics on how the bands have helped teachers and students across the country.

139 Teachers and 686 K-12 students from throughout the U.S. completed online surveys asking them about their results with Bouncy Bands. 
  • 88% of students reported that Bouncy bands helped them focus in class.
  • 84% of students stated that Bouncy Bands made it easier to do their work.
  • 87% of students felt calmer when they took tests. 
  • 92% of teachers reported that Bouncy Bands help students release energy.
  • 76% of teachers stated that students using Bouncy Bands tend to stay on task longer. (17% didn't know)
  • 91% of teachers said that Bouncy Bands are quiet. (6% didn't know)
  • 71% of teachers reported that students using Bouncy Bands tend to be calmer when they take tests. (24% didn't know)
  • 87% of teachers stated that movement helps students focus better. (10% didn't know)

I would definitely suggest checking out their site and finding out if these little bands could help some of those active students in your classroom. ----> Bouncy Bands

If you decide to order you can use the code 15OFF to receive 15% off of your purchase for the next 7 days!

I'm looking forward to using these for the rest of the year and hoping to help my students get their wiggles out while they work!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Surfin' Through Second

Aloha friends!  I was just looking through some old blog posts and noticing how much I used to blog.  I shared so many things that were going on in my class and I seemed to have an endless amount of ideas to talk about.  My last post was exactly a month ago.  I have been so incredibly busy that I haven't even thought of blogging.  I really love to write and get my thoughts and ideas down. I have missed it.  So here is a summary of my school year so far.

My class started out pretty rough this year.  I had a lot of criers the first few weeks.  I usually have one, but we are talking 5!!

Seriously, the counselor was living in my classroom for those first few weeks.  I felt like crying a lot of the time too.

Our school also began the year with no principal.  Our last principal (who was awesome) transferred to a local high school and we were left with no one at the helm.  We held our own, like we always do and finally received a new admin the second week of school.

Let's just say we had a lot of changes and we were very overwhelmed with what was going down.
Morale has been low and many of us feel over worked and exhausted.  The fun beginning of the year feeling that I aways have had just hasn't been there.  To add to the mix I also have a lot of behavior issues this year.

I have the reputation for being calm and patient and great with boys who need a little more structure.  This is true to an extent, but it is wearing me down.

So with two weeks left until Fall break I am really working on staying positive, calm and happy in my classroom.

The balance here is that my personal life is wonderful!  I am spending more time with my daughters and we have such a close relationship right now as they head into their teen years.  I love talking with them and seeing how they are maturing into amazing young women! 

This summer right before school started my neighbor dragged me to a casting call for Hawaii 5-0.

She didn't want to go alone so I went with her.  There were hundreds of people there waiting in line and I just wanted to leave.  After a few hours I finally filled out the paper work, took pictures and got the heck out of there, lol.  Two weeks later they called me to be an extra!  What? Little 'Ole me out of all those people? It was so fun and I got to see McGarrett up close as I walked by him in my scene. I didn't mind when they yelled "cut" and "reset" ten times!  I will be in the season premiere this Friday! Last week I got another call from them and I will also be in Episode 6.

I have also been spending more time with friends, getting back out in the ocean and I have even started dating.   Honestly, I haven't been this happy in my personal life in quite awhile. 

Things in life are thrown at you for a reason.  It all unfolds and comes together into a bigger picture later on.  So I am holding strong and walking in my classroom every morning with a smile on my face and a positive attitude.  The waters may be rough right now, but soon it will be smooth sailing again.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Personalized Lesson Planners

Aloha everyone!  The end of summer is approaching and many of us are back in school.  I know that many of you don't start until after Labor Day!  (Jealous!)

Recently I have been getting many questions and emails on my Personalized Lesson planners.  Most people want to know how to set it up, how to print it and where to get it bound.  I decided to put together a post today so that all that information is on one place.

All of my planners are editable in Powerpoint.  Here is a video explaining how to open your file and set it up how you want.

After I get my planner together.  I print it out on my home printer.  I have this HP PhotoSmart 6515 printer that I bought from Costco for about $80.

It has a feature that allows me to print double sided copies.

When I select print this is what I see.  I check Two-Sided.  The preview shows me that the page is not to scale.  So I select Paper Size-US Letter.

I click on US Letter Borderless.  This will scale it to fit the paper with no white lines around it.

Now the preview shows me that the entire page will be printed without the white border around it.

The paper I used is a heavier weight paper than just regular Xerox paper.  It is a 24lb inkjet paper.

I got a ream for pretty cheap at Costco and I have also ordered it on Amazon.com.

I print the whole thing and then I take the cover and the back and laminate them both.  I use my home laminator and trim the excess off.

 I take it to Office Max and have it spiral bound.  It costs $3.

I love my new planner and have gotten tons of compliments on it from my co-workers.
I have lots of designs to choose from in my TpT shop.

Hopefully this post will help you with all of your planner needs.  Now you're set to create your personal planner to get you ready for a fantastic new year.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ready For A New Year

Aloha friends!  I am a little late in sharing my classroom for this year.  We started school on July 29th and I have to tell you I WAS NOT READY!

I seriously had so much to do and I didn't get any of it done.  Instead of stressing about it and not having the perfect room I took Elsa's advice and Let It Go!

Honestly the only person who noticed was me!  Well two weeks later I have slowly been getting into the groove and I finally took some pictures to share.  There's actually not much of a difference from last year, except I don't have my surf theme.  This year we are the Sunset Super Heroes.

My desk looks great with a fresh coat of chalkboard paint!

New Job Chart

New Reward Tags-Click on the Picture above to Grab this Freebie!
The chains are from Amazon.---->Click Here

Math Focus Wall

I had my students create their own Super Hero.  We are writing stories and I will hang them up soon.

My library is still the same.

I love my new Sit Spots too!!

My seat sacks turned out great and they add such a nice pop of color!

I ordered these containers from Really Good Stuff.

My writing area is still the same.  I just need to get all my buckets labeled.

I finally got an easel!! No one would deliver to Hawaii.  I finally found a company and had to talk with a customer service rep who had to do some finagling in order to get this to me!

I made some new schedule cards.

And a new alphabet chart.

I changed up the tags on their cubby baskets too.

My new clip chart and I still haven't put name tags on my buckets!

My iPad center is working well and I bought a fancy little gadget to plug them all in!

I still have my desk, but am seriously thinking of getting rid of it next year!

One last look from the side of my desk and that's it!
I love my classroom.  It's open, bright, organized and ready for another
year of learning.   It may be missing a few little things, 
but I'll get to them eventually.

I hope you enjoyed your visit and that your classroom
is ready to roll as well!!  
Wishing everyone the best 2015-16 school year!