Classroom Lighting Alternatives

12/30/2013 / 4 comments
I detest fluorescent lights...and as a result I create children who do too!

When I worked as a pullout teacher in computer lab, we would shut them off everyday. Mostly because we were all staring at computer screens and the lights just made it too bright. As the year wore on my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders would just know to shut them off when it was time for their Intervention groups. I was out one day and the sub was not pleased when they shut them off...perhaps I should have mentioned that in the sub plans!

Now that I have my own class this year, and due to the fact that the projector is running all day, the no lights policy has started yet again! We tried just shutting off one set each day (they are panel lights) but no matter which set we tried it was just too bright! Shutting them all off was a solution on bright sunny days, but when winter started it became too dark.

I have two small lamps
that I got last year from Walmart, but they only use 40 watt bulbs, so that is not very helpful!

I went on an endless quest scouring the internet and I finally found these!
They are at Bed Bath & Beyond and cost $39.99. I love how the shades are on arms that let you move them around, and I truly love how each one uses a 60 watt bulb! You can have all five lights on, or just two or three depending on how you turn the switch.

I bought one to start with, but ended up getting a second one a few days later. I put them on either side of my chalkboard and they are amazing! Now it is bright enough that we can have the lights off!

I tried to snap a few picks before I left for vacation but in my haste they came out too blurry! I will share some when I go back. I am so thrilled with how well they are going to work! For now I have the Instagram pic I took in my room when I set up the first lamp!
What kind of lighting do you use in your classroom?
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Student New Year's Resolution Winner!

12/28/2013 / Leave a Comment
Congratulations Cheryl! You are the winner of my Student New Year's Resolution pack, I will be emailing you soon with your prize!
I hope everyone has a great Saturday!
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Student New Year's Resolution Pack Giveaway!

12/25/2013 / 4 comments
My students and I have been having a lot of discussions about resolutions and goals for the new year. The biggest areas we need to focus on are being responsible for your work and cleanliness.

I have a few students who always go above and beyond to clean our room, but most times it isn't even their mess they are cleaning! Of course I, like all teachers I am sure, have several students who misplace work or frequently forget to pass in assignments.

Rather than just having my students brainstorm a goal, I decided to make a pack that would help them to organize their thoughts and self-assess to see what areas they need improvement in.
There are two checklists in this set - one for school goals and one for home goals. First they will read through and check off any goals they have already met.
Next, they choose 1 goal that they did not check off. If they have more than one, they will look closely to see which is the most important at this time.

Included are 2 graphic organizers, one with a sentence starter and one without. 
Lastly there are 2 writing templates; 1 goal and a 2 goal. I like to differentiate writing assignments by giving my class the option of completing a graphic organizer, or a writing paper for their final copy. 

I made the organizer and the writing paper coordinating, so they can be displayed on a bulletin board with the 2014 sign! I think this will be a great way to help my students to narrow down the areas of school and home that they can improve on. 

If you are interested in purchasing this item you can find it in my shop here, or just click on the pictures above!

I will be giving one of these sets away, using the random number generator, to anyone who leaves a comment below telling how it will help their class. Don't forget to include your email address! I will choose a winner this Saturday!
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Student Christmas Craft

12/18/2013 / Leave a Comment
I truly adore those glitter ornaments that are all over Pinterest during the holiday seasons. I especially love them because the glitter is only on the inside. Whilst I am smitten with all things glitter, like everyone else, I detest when it ends up everywhere.

I wanted a simple craft to make with my students this year. Something easy that they can give to their families on the holiday. I figured I would give these a try!

Here's what you need:
Ornaments - I got these plastic balls at Michaels for 70% off! I love the flattened circle look!
 Glitter - I went with Martha Stewart's, it is so fine and sparkly!!
 Pledge floor care, so the glitter has something to stick to!
Clear bags and iridescent star garland to wrap them up.

I made my sample last night and it was wicked easy. All you have to do is remove the top of the ornament and pour in a little bit of the floor care.

Then, I covered it with a paper towel (the mouths on these ornaments are a bit wider than the traditional ball shape, but I love the style of these!)

I swirled the liquid around until the entire ball was coated and then drained the excess back into the bottle.

Next, I poured in the glitter and rolled/shook the ball until it was coated. If you have any excess glitter you can pour that back into the container too. I did mine in small bits, so I didn't have any extra.

Here is my finished result!
I would recommend letting them dry for awhile before putting the top back on. I put mine on a bit too soon and it scratched off a bit of the glitter near the tip.

I wanted to keep the wrapping simple since they are so fabulous looking!
My sister Kristen suggested the stars to tie them off and I must say, as usual she has fabulous taste! They look so cute, I know my students and their families will love them!

What is your craft project for your class this year?
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Nail Art - Christmas Lights!

12/15/2013 / 3 comments
I decided to be brave this year and try Christmas lights. I was obsessed with all the pictures I saw of them on Pinterest last year, but I never thought I could make it work.

I chose to do it on my left hand only, my right hand was red with a red and green statement nail. I knew I had a chance of painting the lights using my right hand - but there was no way would it work with my left!!

For this manicure I used: (click for links)
Zoya Ornate Holiday Collection 2012 - Ziv, Blaze and Logan 
Maybelline Color Show - Porcelain Party
Maybelline Color Show - Onyx Rush

I used art brushes for the cord and my dotting tools for the light bulbs. After I put on a drop of the red, green or gold, I just dragged the dotting tool down a teensy bit to give it a bulb-ish tip.

Today I am going to give the Reindeer another try. I really loved how it came out last year.

What's on your nails this holiday season?

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Nail Art - Nude with Glitter part 2

12/08/2013 / Leave a Comment
I have been a bit lazy about my nails lately. My new job has kept me busy - so I have been taking the easy way out most weeks. As in a lot of crackle and statement nails!

This week I wanted to try out loose glitter again. I adore sparkly nails, but, like everyone else I am sure, detest removing glitter polish! It takes way too long.

Last time I tried loose glitter it lasted the whole week and was extremely easy to remove! I decided it was time to give it another try.

For this manicure I used: (Click the name for links!)
Maybelline Color Show - Canary Cool
Loose ultra fine glitter from Michaels

I loved how the glitter came out this time, and I finally found a way to be a lot neater when using it! I put a teeny bit in the cap I store my glitter in and then shook it over each nail. It was much easier to control how much glitter came out and a lot less messy!

What's on your nails this week?
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TPT Cyber Sale!

12/01/2013 / Leave a Comment

TPT's Cyber Sale starts tomorrow!! I have had my cart ready since Thanksgiving Day - and it is a heaping one too! I cannot wait until I get home from school tomorrow to check out, and to see all my purchases!

My entire store is going to be 20% off - but if you use the promo code: CYBER you save a total of 28%!

Here are a few items from my shop, click the pictures if you would like to see more!

Happy shopping!
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Word Study Opening = Word of the Day!

11/09/2013 / 2 comments

Now that I am teaching 5th grade, I have been getting a lot of use out of my Word of the Day set. We have Intervention prior to Word Study, so they are straggling into class over the course of a five minute period. This activity is a great opening for our Word Study block each day!

My students record the word each day in their Reader's Notebook as soon as they come back from Intervention. This keeps it from getting too chaotic when they all return. First they write down the word and the definition, then they create their own context sentence.

Once everyone has arrived we read over the word together. I choose a different student for each part (one for the word, one for the definition and one for the context) and many students like to share out their context sentences too. This allows almost everyone to have a chance to participate throughout the week. I have found that by creating their own context sentences they are forming a better understanding of what each word means.

I created a free template that can be used to record these words each day, in case you would rather record them on paper than in a journal.
If you are interested just click the picture or the link down below!

My Word of the Day set is available for a new low price!

Have a great weekend!
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TPT One Year Anniversary Sale!

10/27/2013 / Leave a Comment

In honor of today being my one year anniversary on TPT, I am having a two day sale where everything in my shop is 20% off!

Click the pictures below to see the items in my TPT shop!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!
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Class Dojo Point Perks!

10/20/2013 / 4 comments
When I found out I was going to be teaching 5th grade this year, I immediately knew I wanted to try out Class Dojo. I've read all about it on everyone's blogs and I love how it focuses on the good behavior, rather than just pointing out the bad.

I introduced it on the first day and my students were smitten! They loved how they were able to personalize their own monsters and they are obsessed with the sounds it makes when the gain (and lose!) points.

At first the system was going great, but suddenly some students amassed a ton of points and began asking for rewards. I was a bit stuck as to how to reward my students without going broke!

Then, I had a solution! We have 4 tech devices in our class, an ipad, laptop, desktop and a kindle. We also have five seating options:
2 zebra cushions (Staples) 2 Chevron pillows (Society6) and one bean bag chair (Walmart.)

At the beginning of the year I made a weekly schedule assigning these items to a student for one day. Then my numbers went from 21 to 26 and this became way to much to manage!

My solution was this: each Monday during morning meeting we gather to "trade in" our Dojo points.

25 points = line leader, chevron pillow or kindle for the week.
50 points = zebra chair, bean bag or tech for the week.
75 points = choose your own seat.
100 points = free homework pass!

I must say this is way easier for me to manage and a lot more rewarding for my students. Now they want to earn points because they know they will have a week long reward if they do! 

I do wish that Class Dojo let you subtract a large number of points at once, rather than having to reset students to zero and add points back one by one. I did email them about this and I am hoping it is a feature they might add in the future!

What do you use for classroom management? 
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New Job!!

9/28/2013 / 8 comments
I am officially a fifth grade teacher at the school I have been working at for several years as a part time Title 1 teacher!! :) :) I have been with the class since the start of the year, but I wanted to wait until everything was official before I said anything.

I absolutely love the school I work at and could not be more excited!! I took a ton of room pictures to share, but alas, they are a bit blurry! However I am so excited I shall share two anyway!
My whiteboard! This was a yucky green chalkboard but it has now been converted to an amazing wonderful whiteboard by one of my colleagues! She is the best! I tried a new kind of whiteboard paper this year (click here for the link) This is a lot easier to put on, but it needs to meet at the seams, rather than overlap. That is where my awesome friend came in. I couldn't get it to line up right so she fixed it for me while I worked on this:
My updated dry erase tables, sans zebra duct tape. I went with 2 inch electrical tape for the edge this year. The duct tape was way to difficult to remove by the end of the year. (Links: black contact paper, electrical duct tape, dry erase sheets.)

I shall take better pictures next week!! ;) I realize this is a bit of a limited post, but I just couldn't wait any longer to tell everyone! I promise to be a better blogger now that things are settled. I hope everyone is having a great start of the school year!!
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September Currently!

9/02/2013 / 16 comments
Listening: To some nice soothing classical music, it is helping the dogs and me too!

Loving: That fall is almost here! It has been way to humid for my taste so I am ready for some cool fall air!

Thinking: Of the zillions of things I need to get ready for school!!!

Wanting: To paint my nails. I have neglected them this month, which is probably good for their health, but I am so sick of naked nails!! I am thinking shades of purple will be the theme for the week!!

Needing: To get ready for the first day of school!

1. Exercise!
2. Work efficiently! Rather than overworking, thinking and obsessing, I want to work efficiently this year!
3. Prioritize! I guess this ties in with number two, but I want to focus on what needs to be done first and work to get those things done first. Hopefully this will keep me a bit more calm!!

Click the picture below to head on over to Farley's to link up! I am off to do some reading and hopping!
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Things I Love - August Edition and Giveaway Winners

8/27/2013 / Leave a Comment
Here are some of my latest loves for the month of August. Links will be at the end of the post!

Flip Flops

I adore these flip flops by Reef and I will miss wearing them dearly when I am back in school next month! Please excuse the sand on the silver ones, I had just gotten back from the beach!!

I have added a few new rings to my collection this summer! I found this adorable fox ring on Etsy. I needed a ring for my right hand that wouldn't be too cumbersome since I am a righty.
These are from a stacked ring set I got from Macy's. There were four rings in the set, but I am not feeling the fourth. It was way to pointy for me to wear daily!! I must admit I am totally infatuated with the zipper ring. It is beyond cute!

My new purse!! -
Back in July I blogged about handbags I dreamed of buying. I am really trying to stick to my budget - which is pretty much a no shopping at all budget!!! However the other day I was out at Marshalls and I saw it. It is one of the bags I blogged about last month!!

Originally it costs $70, the one I blogged was on sale for $44.95. But Marshalls had it for......$29.99!! However it gets better! I still had $15.01 leftover on a gift card my sister gave me for my birthday awhile back. So, I managed to snag the handbag I had adored for months for $14.98!!

For your shopping pleasure - links!
Reef flip flops
Fox ring - rose gold (it also comes in gold and silver.)
Material Girl - two-tone stackable rings
Urban Expressions - Le Petit Mini Satchel (mint)
Lastly I have the giveaway winners for the Ending Blends Games! Congratulations to Wendy and Lori! I will be emailing you ladies a copy of the game tonight!

So tell me, what are you loving this month?
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Ending Blends Games

8/24/2013 / 2 comments

I find that when working on blends with my students I tend to focus on the beginning ones the most, when the ending blends are just as tricky! I wanted to create a game that would help them to decode the these blends in a fun way!
This set includes 7 game boards:

lf/lt ending blends: (ex: left, calf, gift, wolf and golf.)

lt/lp ending blends: (ex: belt, gulp, salt, tilt and pulp.)

mp ending blends: (ex: lump, camp, swamp, bump and grump.)

nd ending blends: (ex: hand, blind, sand, fend and sound.)

nk/sk ending blends: (ex: bank, task, flunk, pink and desk.)

nt ending blends: (ex: slant, mint, tent, burnt and plant.)

and st ending blends: (ex: roast, last, twist, frost and vest.)
I wanted to make specific boards for each sound combination so you can really focus in on the ones that are the trickiest for your class. There is a mix of long and short vowel sounds on all of these game boards.

There are rules of play, a score sheet for assessing, and a sample score sheet that helps your students understand how to fill it out included as well.

I also included gray scale copies of all the pages. These can be sent home for additional practice!
This set is available in my TpT shop!
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