Thursday, July 30, 2015

Little Extras

Each year I try to add some things to my classroom that stir things up and make things a little more fun.  I'm inspired by fellow bloggers, Pinterest, coworkers, and of course my students.  So, I wanted to share a post about things I call "little extras".....none of these are things I HAVE to have in the classroom, they are just fun extras.  I have blogged about most of these in the past but wanted to do a post with them all in one place:)

One thing I do (and I'm sure lots of you do as well) is throw some colored gel pens into the mix when we are writing.
It's like they're magical or something.  Poof!  Kids that were only writing a tiny bit, write whole pages.....or kids that don't want to write at all suddenly want to write a story....lol.  They seriously get excited about it!  I buy a big set of new, colorful gels pens every year to have handy to spark some fantastic writing:)  I am currently on the hunt for Scentos candy gel pen set!!!  Saw them on Instagram and have been searching but have not found them yet:/

 I posted this on FB last week.
This is an acrylic straw dispenser I got from Amazon.  Game changer people.  The kids LOVE to get a pencil from there.  It's like a really big deal and never seems to get old.  I fill this with all kinds of colorful pencils and then just randomly choose a student or 2 a day to "pick a pencil".  I usually choose students for something I have noticed throughout the day (but not always) maybe someone that helped another student, or a student who did their class job and more, or someone who gave exceptional effort.  You can use it how ever you want...that's just some ideas for what I do:)

Like I said in my intro, I am constantly finding inspiration and ideas from all kinds of people and places.  This idea was from a co-worker a few years ago. 
I found these wonderful little critter cages a few years ago, thanks to that same co-worker.  My husband thought we were nuts....it was quite a drive...lol.  We got them at a beach shop.  Each year I buy a few hermit crabs to put in the cages and they become reading buddies for the students during Read to Self time.
Hermit crabs are SUPER low maintenance.  I just keep a little list of students names and rotate them through my reading rotations (so 8 kids get to read with them a day)  Usually at the end of the year I draw names from students who have permission notes from their parents and 2 of the students get to take them home to keep.  Last year we had unusually bad luck with keeping them alive...not sure what the problem was....hoping that's not the case this year.
This picture leads me to my next "extra"!

This was a BRILLIANT idea I got from my sweet friend Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching.  
I finally got to meet this gem in Vegas!!!  I remember the first time I read about her "Flashlight Friday", I could not get to the Dollar Store fast enough to grab up some flashlights and try it!!
The kids LOVE this, can't wait for this, beg for this!  Every kiddo grabs a flashlight, their book luggage and finds a cozy spot to curl up and read.  When everyone is in place, lights off and flashlights on!
You could hear a pin drop!  They are sooo quiet and soooo into their reading!  Something fun to look forward to at the end of the week:)

I started doing this also a few years ago.  It started with adopting a sea turtle that we could track.  That was super cool.  The next year I read The One and Only Ivan as a read aloud and when we got done, decided to "adopt" a silver back gorilla in honor of reading that book:)
I adopted him from the World Wildlife Fund.  They are wonderful!  The kids were so excited to get our "new classroom member" and read more about him:)
Last year I tried something different.  I get catalogs from World Wildlife Fund showing all the endangered animals and the areas they live in.
I have my classroom set up in groups, so I let each group choose one animal...that was quite the team synergy activity...lol.  Then we listed the 5 chosen and wrote them on the board and voted and here's who won last year!
They loved this little guy....confession......I thought they were already extinct....shows what I know:/  
At the end of the year as a big final project, each student picked one endangered animal from the catalog and then wrote an informational text book about it.  That's a whole other blog post!  They really did such an AMAZING job with this and learned so much!  I need to get some pics and I promise I will post about it soon;)

I got these Kanoodle games from Educational Insights.
I started with the "regular" Kanoodle and then last year was able to add Kanoodle Genius.  It is basically mind puzzles and making all the pieces fit.....NOT EASY!!!  It has several different levels which is great for differentiation!  
Every single kid in my classroom begged to "play" this.  I would pull it out for math rotations sometimes or for early finishers, sometimes even before school.  The Kanoodle Genius drove some of my little geniuses NUTS!!!  I was so impressed with how they would work and work and not give up...and work together!!!  Great for teamwork and synergy;)  


Finally to the end...lol.  My Smuddles:)
I started these a few years ago...they were one of my Monday Made Its...go figure.  What's a Smuddle you ask?  Well, after I made them, they were so cute they had to have a name.
Smile + Puddle = Smuddle
Puddles are the little glass things;)  
I just made a fresh new batch of these for this year.  They can be used for anything you want.  I give them out for all sorts of reasons BUT they are hard to get;)  I don't hand them out daily so when I do, the kids get so excited. 


Well, that does it for me today.  Sorry for such a lengthy post but I really wanted to share some of the "little extras" I do in my room.  I hope you can find one or 2 things to add to your classroom this year!  Also, if you have some "little extras" that you already do, please share!!!!  I would love to hear about them.  Leave me a comment:)  I am always adding to my list:)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It - July 27 - Crunch Time

Ok everyone!!!!  Getting real here!  I have one week and one day and it's on!!  I feel like my summer just started and now it's almost over and I have flipped into a tiny bit of panic mode...BUT, I am really going to try to chill out, enjoy my last week and take it one day at a time!!

I have found that I am much more productive in "panic" mode....not sure hubs likes that but....
My first made it....my student homework folders.  Each year I buy and set up a folder for my kiddos for their homework.  This year I decided to bite the bullet and get the folders that were a little more heavy duty than the paper ones.  They use them every single day...in the past I have had to replace several paper so I'm hoping these will survive the school year;)

I made these adorable labels for their folders and I just LOVE them.  I can't ever get enough of From the Pond's Scrappy Kids!!!

I'm also really hoping that the labels don't peel off easy!  I will be soooo bummed if that happens:/
Still not done with these:)  Have to set up the inside too!  That will be a different made it:)
Hubby got in on the made its this week!  Side note....I have a fun little chat with Alison from Rockin and Lovin Learning.  She messaged me to tell me her husband was worried she was gonna miss out getting her Monday Made It done...too funny.  When the men know about Monday Made It, it's some serious stuff!  Lol.  So anyway, my husband helped this week and I have big plans for him in the next few weeks too!  Shhh!  Just don't tell him that;)
I found this little metal table a while ago at a thrift store for super cheap and it really wasn't doing anything but gathering dust...lol.  So I decided to have hubs paint it and I'm going to bring it into my classroom!
Love me some turquoise!!!  Can't wait to find a place for this in my classroom:)
Made a few more things for my classroom in my new colors!

I had these up in other colors last year. 
I'm hoping to go in one day this week to get my decorating done...well, started...lol!
I even had time to squeeze in a home made it!  
I have this plain, bare window in front of my sink...it just needed something:/  I saw a pic on IG and fell in love and decided that's what it needed!
Before.....and the windows are all foggy because it's been raining nonstop and the humidity is horrible!
After:)  Kinda love it!!

These aren't quite done yet....I didn't get my ribbon for them yet because I'm waiting for the sale...lol.
These are the name tags for our book luggage:)  I usually make round ones but decided to switch it up a little and see if I liked these:)

I have a million things started, not finished, not started, on my to do list, all over my dining room table.....haha!!  Maybe next week!!

Now it's your turn!  I'll just add all the wonderful things ya'll link up to my list..lol!   Thank you for stopping by and thank you for linking up:)  Please don't forget to leave some love on the blogs you visit!!!  I know comments and emails make my day:)





Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Made It - July 20

Ok all.....I could have my Monday Made It be the fact that I made it to and from Vegas and:
A) Didn't freak out completely on the plane
B) Didn't get lost at the Dallas airport
C) Didn't have a meltdown in the crowds....
but I won't bore ya'll with that.  I am hoping to get my act together and blog about the trip and all the amazing and wonderful people I met and learned from!!!

Now, on to my made its for this week!
My first made it is a total copy and inspired by the sweet Courtney from Ramona Recommends, who hosted Monday Made It last week!
Can I just say that I am pretty sure that these are the last Dollar Spot clips in the world?!  I have looked foreverrrrr!
So Courtney made adorable magnets out of these and I loved them so had to have a set for me!

All ready for my classroom!
My second made it is also Courtney inspired.  Last week she also talked about her "Chit Chat Sticks".
I LOVE the idea behind them...so many fun ways to use them!!  
The jar is of course from the Dollar Spot at Target.
Just love how this turned out and can't wait to use them this year!
You can read about her post HERE and you can get her adorable labels HERE.
If you haven't visited her blog, you must.  She is just the sweetest, inside and out and has such a contagious passion for reading!!!  Adore her!!
My next made it is for my home.  I had this blank space on a little wall section that needed something....well, I found this super cool "shelf" on clearance at Hobby Lobby:)
It's super chippy and rustic with gold:)  And guess what?  The center is magnetic!
Now....if this was truly a me made it, I would have made magnets BUT I found these on clearance at Marshalls so......
So there's that.  Now I have a fun place to hang all my lists and notes!

This made it was on my FB fan page last week:)  I don't know about you but I can't remember all my own passwords and then I have students asking me theirs!!!!!  So a while back I made these Login Loops.  Well, I made a second set to match my new classroom colors this year!

I forgot to make one for me when I made my class set, so I just wrote my name on a blank one.
Each student gets their own set and they keep them in their book luggage:)  Worked great last year!  These are a FREEBIE in my TPT shop if you are interested, you can get them HERE.
Finally, my last made it is team tubs.
I found these tubs at Hobby Lobby for sooo cheap!  Trust me, it was time to replace the ones I had.
I LOVE, LOVE this burlap ribbon with chevron....I'm going to try to use some on my bulletin boards too;)
The signs I used on the tubs are actually the big round signs from my Kids & Colors Collection...I just printed them 2 to a page instead of one and that made them the perfect size!
So excited to be bringing some pink into my classroom this year!!!

Alrighty, it's your turn!  I am running out of summer ya'll.....as in weeks...like 2:/  Can't wait to see what you add that I can add to one of my lists....and then hang it on my new board;)