Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rainbow Sight Words Homework Program

Check out my first item for sale in my Teacher's Notebook Store!!!!  If you are looking for a sight words homework program to implement NOW and boost your student's sight words assessment scores before the end of the year this is for you!

Click the image below to access my Teacher's Notebook Store!

Classroom Music Made Easy

Music is my fuel!  In the car, on a run, and in my classroom I need music!   What I don't need is wasted instructional time.  Back in the day I had a cd case filled with my favorite educational music.  I would want to play, let's say 5 songs for my students, and I would pull out 5 different cd's, look closely at which track the songs were on and get the cd loaded in the cd player.  Meanwhile, I sensed students tuning out and losing focus.  The worst interruption happened when I hit the wrong track number and another song started blasting.  Students burst into giggles, and more time was wasted getting their attention back.  For awhile the dread of playing music kept me away from the cd player until I revamped my system.  I purchased a classroom iPod and a boombox with an iPod dock and remote.  I inputed all of my favorite songs in to my iTunes library and started making playlists based on what times of day and categories I needed songs.  With an organized music library on my iPod I have everything at my fingertips:  when students are working quietly, I put on the instrumental productivity music; when students have art, I put on the Etta James or Disney playlist; for free choice Kidz Bop puts smiles on the student's faces; on Friday's, I use a special playlist for silly songs like Dr. Jean's Tooty Ta to get the kids moving,  and of course all the holidays get their own playlist. Everyday I use the Calendar playlist that has such hits as the days of the week song.  Through out the year I may record students singing along to their favorite nursery rhymes and import these into a playlist as well.  The students LOVE hearing their voices, so this is a big hit!  Music breaths life in to a classroom, sets the mood, and most importantly teaches key educational concepts.  Getting classroom music organized on an iPod allows for quick easy access with no time wasted.  Oh and don't forget to make a playlist for yourself.  When the kids leave and you are bustling around the classroom, there is nothing better then a little Michael Buble on a Monday afternoon!  How do you organize your classroom music?  Do you think this system could work for you?  And please share any songs or artists that really get your students grooving!

Please click the images below to help you get started organizing your classroom music!


In the picture below there are Disney records I ordered off ebay.  I purchased a record player from Target.  As a special reward students love listening to old records.  They are mesmerized by the snap crackle and pop of Disney Classics!  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teacher Reflection

After a day of teaching, I often get in the car and drive home reflecting on the day.  I think of my lesson successes and next steps.  I think of my students and hope they had a great day of learning.  I often wonder what they will tell their parents about their school day.  Upon deeper reflection, I begin to think did I smile enough, was I maybe to hard on a student, did I make learning fun... I realized I needed a cheat sheet to take inventory of key teaching habits that would make me a consistently better teacher.  The idea is not to do them all or do them all perfectly.  The reflection sheet is more to acknowledge the positives that come naurally and point out a few areas to work on as goals. Once I created the sheet, I laminated it and now keep it handy for reference.  At the end of the day I take a Vis-A-Vis pen and check off items on the list I successfully incorporated that day. Then I choose items to include for the following day.  Feel free to use or modify this idea and let me know how it goes or how you changed it to fit your needs!  Click on the image below to access my Teacher Reflection in google docs!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Here We Go!!!

Let's take a peek in to my classroom over the years!  

Farm unit in Kinder

 This is Molly Sunshine our classroom pet

A sign I made for my kinder classroom door

Ocean Unit

Oh the moving boxes!  How many of you have moved classrooms?  I think a post is needed on tips and tricks for moving classroom. 

Second grade reading nook

Potted plants are a must in my classroom

Instead of Lakeshore posters I use Pottery Barn teen tapestries to decorate my classroom walls

Bucket Filling

My personal corner and files

And that's me!  I loved my Minnie backpack and adored the magic of school!