Thursday, July 21, 2016

I've Started a YouTube Channel!

Hi friends! I wanted to pop in and tell y'all about my new YouTube channel! I plan on posting videos about my resource, fun little activities to use in the classroom, and all things teaching! Be sure and like my videos and subscribe! I've only uploaded three so far, but I'm filming my book bins tonight so look out for that video coming soon! :)




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All About the VIP

Today on the blog, it’s all about the VIP Area! This absolutely fabulous idea originated from the amazing Rachel  Lamb. When I saw her Instagram post about this behavior management system two years ago, I immediately knew that this idea needed to be in my classroom. You can read more about her amazing idea here. Here’s how I do VIP in my classroom and my tips and thoughts on the process J

When I first started VIP, it was in the middle of the year. I stayed after school one day and cleared out a corner of my classroom. I put up caution tape to generate excitement among my kids. It completely worked! The next day they came in and immediately began talking about what would go in the new area. I didn’t say anything and wouldn’t give them any hints. I left up the police tape for the next couple of days. I remember dragging my mom to my classroom on a Wednesday night and setting up the VIP Area. When they came into class the next morning, they were SOOOO excited! It's one of my favorite teaching memories. :)

The best way to make this a special, coveted privilege in your classroom is to make a special area that only VIPs are allowed in! In my classroom, when VIP's are chosen, they immediately move to the VIP table and everyone claps! Below are pictures from my first VIP area.

This is what makes becoming a VIP so special! VIP members get access to ALL the perks in our classroom! They get to decide if they want to work at the VIP table for the day or grab a clipboard and work around the room. They get first choice of seating when we read around the room. If a non VIP member is sitting in a trampoline chair, the VIP member gets to request the chair (in a polite way, of course!) VIP members also get to write in pens!

Maybe it's just me, but that box of 96 crayons?? #swoon
So of course, the VIP members get access to all the best supplies! They also get a candy bag when they earn VIP for the first time!

The main point of VIP is to honor those who are standing out and doing what they are suppose to. 
When I go over VIP at the beginning of the year, I tell the kids that not everyone is guaranteed a "turn". VIP is something that is earned, not passed around.

Create a special display in your classroom and post your students pictures when they earn VIP. This year, I'm doing a VIP Wall of Fame where I'll display pictures of my kids as they earn access into this special "club"! 

When do you pick new VIPs?
 I don't have a set time I pick new VIPs. I pick them when I see someone who is going above and beyond the average student. 

How do I announce new VIPs?
This is one of my favorite aspects of this system. Since my kids all have their own Chrome books and school email, I email the people who are chosen to be VIPs. I'll announce to the class that I've sent out VIP emails and everyone checks. It is SO FUN to see the kids who have earned it read their email. I'm so proud of them, I sometimes have to try very hard not to cry! They are so proud of themselves (and rightfully so!). When he or she reads their VIP email, it contains instructs to come get an All Access VIP Pass from me and then move their stuff to the VIP Area. Everyone claps and praise the new VIP(s)!

How do you earn VIP?
I created a little chart to use at the beginning of the year to go over this system with my kids

How long do VIP members stay in VIP?
It varies! Sometimes a week, sometimes two, sometimes half a week. It just depends on if other students have earned VIP and I need to change students out.

Can you get kicked out of VIP?

How many students are VIP at a time?
In my classroom I have 4 because that's how many chairs I have at the VIP area! :)

I think that's everything! If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I'll answer it! :)

In other news, I created a YouTube Channel today! Check out my first video and let me know if you have any video requests! :)


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Home Office Tour

Happy Sunday! Today's post is all about my home office. I had the worst time trying to take pictures for this post! My DSLR camera wouldn't cooperate with me, so I had to use my iPhone, which I do most of the time. But of course when I need it to work like it normally does, it starts to not focus! 

Anyways, I'm not completely happy with the pictures, but I've promised an office tour and I'm trying to cross off tasks on the to do list, so here it is! :)

The office (like every room in my house) is ever changing. I love to rearrange, so how it looks now almost definitely won't be how it looks a year or even 6 months from now! 

Here's my view for most every day. That chest and mirror was a find from a new little local place this summer. I bought it for my living room but it didn't look right in there. I know it really isn't meant for an office, but it holds my cameo and I like it! 

I hate having my printer on the pretty built ins, but it works best for me there. I can easily pick up copies that I print and it's easy to add paper. I've tried my computer there and it looks really good but I cannot work when it's there. I feel like I'm stuck in a corner. :)

Y'all know a love to read, so I love having my books on display. That flamingo is from Hobby Lobby. I just love it, but my mom hates it! :)

For all you book lovers out there, I included what books are currently on my shelves. Some I've read and some are on the TBR list.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Guided Read Alouds

Happy Fri-yay friends! I'm talking about guided read alouds today. This is something new I'm going to try in my classroom this year and I'm really excited about it!

Okay, I know how important it is to read aloud to your kids everyday. I get it. I really do. But time is just SUCH an issue. I teach 3 classes a day and only have the kids for about an hour and 15 minutes. By the time we get in and unpacked, there's barely enough time to get in the lesson, much less a read aloud.

BUT, again, I know how important it is and how valuable read alouds are. I was determined to make this happen this school year, so I came up with "guided read alouds". Let me explain:

When I first read The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, I knew I needed every single one of my kids to read this book. 
This book is wonderful. I didn't want it to just sit on the shelf and have a few kids check it out. Every kid needs to read this book. I decided it would be perfect for our first read aloud. 

What makes this book perfect for read alouds? The chapters are super short, so it won't take very long to read each day. This is a BIG plus in my book because my problem is always TIME. Plus, it's got wonderful characters and tons of action. 

Now, I still want to make good use of this time so that the kids are enjoying the book AND learning! In other words, I can't just have them sitting there listening to me read (although I don't think this is a bad thing! There are MANY benefits to students listening to the teacher read. I just can't spend 15 minutes each class time doing JUST this.) This is where the "guided" part comes in. The kids will listen to me read the chapter(s) at the beginning of each class and then they will answer the central question. Central questions are wonderful because they provide a purpose for reading and they allow me to check for understanding! 
**If you're a 1:1 Chromebook classroom, I'm going to have the kids write their responses in a Google Doc and keep an online reading response journal in Drive! :)

I've developed a schedule for the read aloud and I based my central questions around this schedule. 
You can find my central questions here. I've included three different formats depending on your setup:

Click here to grab your copy!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Classroom Decorating: Day 4

Hi friends! The bulletin boards are finally starting to come together. The rest of the room is still a complete disaster, but at least the boards are looking up! :) Here's my progress from the fourth day of decorating. 
How gorgeous is Teaching with a Mountain View's chart?? When I found it on Pinterest I knew I had to recreate it. 

My evidence board is my most used board in the room. The kids constantly refer to it. You can find these posters here. Only a colored version is available. I just made these black and white ones to coordinate with my board. I have to correct the misspelling of 'paragraph'. There's always a misspelling! :)

I have had a Silhouette Cameo for about 3 years, but I'm awful at using it! I made myself practice yesterday and I fell in love with it! I'm still trying to figure out sizing a little bit better (see below for my failure to make the word 'comprehension' fit...what a long word!)

The title for this board was made using fonts from Jen Jones. I can't remember the names, but they are a part of her Hello fonts :)

I wanted to get a few more things done, but my cell phone died and I couldn't take anymore pictures! I'm awful at remembering to bring a charger. :)